You’ve officially decided to start your startup. Congrats! Before you dive headfirst into planning, hiring, and investing money, it’s important to think about what you’ll need to grow. A successful startup needs to have certain tools or platforms in place from the beginning. These tools can benefit you as a leader and save you from wasting time on unnecessary tasks.
The beauty of these digital platforms is that they are always evolving. As businesses are demanding certain capabilities, more and more of these platforms are becoming available. While there are many tools in many categories, specific offerings may not meet all of your small business needs. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there that will.
Not sure where to start? We’ve done your homework for you. Keep reading for three types of tech platforms that you need from the very beginning. Your future self and future business will thank you.
1. Payroll Software System
Keeping your employees happy involves a lot more than just a paycheck. From feeling respected on the job to employee benefits, research shows that many factors affect job satisfaction and retention. But that paycheck does matter — especially when it comes late or is inaccurate. Payroll mistakes can erode employee confidence and create significant costs for employees who budget carefully around their next paycheck.
To get payroll right, most small businesses choose to work with an external provider. You should probably research to find one that meets the needs (and budget) of your business. Before diving into the research, ask yourself a few questions. How many employees do you currently have? Are all your employees salaried, or are some paid hourly? Is everyone on the same pay schedule? The answers will help ensure that the system you select meets your needs.
Leveraging a reliable payroll platform can be a great way to get the bandwidth you need to grow your business. When looking for a small business payroll solution, focus on your pain points and all the things that suck up your time. No matter how many employees you have now, make sure the platform scales, so you don’t limit yourself or run into roadblocks as you grow.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
As a new startup, your business depends on keeping your customers happy. Word of mouth goes so far. Both a happy customer and a very unhappy customer are likely to talk about your business in different veins. Ensuring customer satisfaction from the start can be so beneficial to your growth. That’s why you need to have a customer relationship management (CRM) solution set up from the get-go.
One mistake many business leaders make is thinking of this platform as a data storage system. In reality, CRMs can — and should — do so much more. They can help you streamline your business processes and manage the relationships you are creating and facilitating with your customers. For instance, a CRM should systematize the sales process so you can instantly track down a missing order.
When selecting a CRM, identify all of your needs. Pinpoint how the CRM will make your life easier and what holes in your business you need help with filling. Again, asking yourself this question can be so helpful in the selection process as you weigh each solution’s pros and cons. Another tip is to ask if you can test drive the CRM before committing. Doing so will let you see firsthand how easy the platform is to work with.
3. Project Management Platform
The beginning of startup life goes by so quickly. There are so many tasks at hand and deadlines to meet. There is often electric energy, a buzz that is contagious. And there are most definitely a lot of really long days and likely some all-nighters, too.
How can you make sure you’re not forgetting any must-do tasks when you’re running on fumes? Implementing a project management platform can make a world of difference to your fledgling startup.
A project management platform keeps all of your thoughts, tasks, and projects organized. It essentially tracks all of your businesses’ to-do items. You and employees can quickly see where a project task is, who is working on it, and how long it is taking. These platforms also allow for better collaboration across time zones. They allow you as the leader to monitor progress and intervene if necessary.
In today’s hybrid and work-from-home world, there are countless project management platforms available to businesses. Choosing one that works for you will take some research. It also comes down to personal preference, as each platform implements standard capabilities (e.g., data visualization, time tracking, push notifications) in different ways. Again, ask to test each candidate platform before committing to one.
The beginning of startup life goes by so quickly. There are so many tasks at hand and deadlines to manage. You’re busy hiring your team while also managing customer expectations and delivering on them. You’re being pulled in so many directions and multitasking throughout it all.
Fortunately, with the right tools in place, you can better manage your startup’s launch and continue to watch it grow. Each of these tech tools has a different purpose. A payroll software system keeps your employees paid on time and many HR processes in check. A CRM platform ensures your paying customers are happy and manages their needs. A project management platform helps you as a leader oversee multiple projects.
Before selecting any one of these tech solutions, do some research. There are hundreds of these tech platforms available. Some will meet your needs and some will even exceed them. Always ask for a trial run to make sure the platform will satisfy all your requirements. And remember, while these platforms can’t do the hard work for you, they can make startup life a bit easier.
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