Regardless of the industry, every new business has its hurdles. For tech startups, technological spending on managed IT solutions and digital marketing are among the most pressing challenges. By carefully analyzing costs and benefits, new tech companies can learn from their mistakes without going out of business, instead of finding those opportunities that give them an edge.
Losses in the Cloud
Touted as a way to keep costs down, many cloud providers have pricing calculators that estimate costs for moving aspects of your IT department onto the cloud. Before migrating, learn the options available and do a cost-benefit analysis to decide on the best option for your startup. Three models for cloud computing involve software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), providers.
Each type comes with its own advantages.
SaaS offers a delivery model based on subscription, providing centrally-hosted software that’s licensed by the provider. These work great for budget-conscious CFOs, who are assured of set rates. Some examples of SaaS providers are:
- Google G Suite
- Office 365
Yet if you’re working with portable apps, a robust PaaS platform might work better. It also reduces the time it takes to get products to market, as it preloads most of the required runtime software you’ll need. Some examples include:
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Google App Engine
- Engine Yard
IaaS works best for startups that don’t mind hosting apps on third party data centers but still want to retain infrastructure ownership while outsourcing the care of servers. The following fall into this category:
- Google Cloud Platform
- Alibaba Cloud
Wavestone US – an IT and business advisory firm – gives sound advice about cloud computing costs. Wavestone’s managing principal John Dabek states “that as much as 35% of all cloud spending could be wasted,” continuing to explain that more than just the IT department should be involved.
And he’s right. IT shouldn’t be siloed. Procurement and finance need to provide input when it comes to cloud migration, as should any other department or team it affects. In a nod to these as-a-service providers, Dabek advises focusing on SaaS cloud servers, followed by PaaS and IaaS, suggesting IT professionals innovate more and not just keep the WiFi working.
Avoiding Digital Disaster
As with cloud computing, the tech industry hyped digital marketing for startups and traditional businesses. Now it promotes products and brands worldwide. It’s more cost-effective and easier than traditional marketing, particularly for those without large marketing budgets.
As the natural go-to method for startups, you might think as long as you’ve got a presence on social media that you’re in the clear. Yet just like any form of marketing, many startups fail because they use poor digital marketing strategies. A good digital marketing consultant can help tech startups find the best marketing strategy for their niche, providing higher impact and better return on investment than chaotic do-it-yourself approaches.
Understanding what to do in the digital marketing sphere means understanding your customers. Hiring the right digital marketing consultant can help you avoid critical mistakes that can impact your revenue. Always remember that your IT gives you a direct line to your customers, allowing you to communicate directly while tracking, monitoring, and analyzing their behavior.
To understand customers, what they want and how they want you to sell to them, will naturally increase traffic and boost conversion rates.
It also allows you to quickly change directions when things don’t work. If your online marketing campaign shows lackluster performance, quickly realizing this will allow you to easily end an unsuccessful campaign, or to infuse more into one that’s showing signs of breaking out.
Other Things to Consider
Of course, there are myriad other concerns. Fully developing your vision while launching your innovative new products takes a great deal of confidence. It’s scary to be a pioneer. Add to this doubt about who will fund your startup and if your product is ready for market and you may find yourself hesitating.
A few other aspects startups need to keep in mind:
- Hire right: Not having the right team to develop and market your product can scupper a startup in no time. Build a creative cadre committed to your vision.
- Content: No matter what your startup does, you need content to spread your message, whether it’s videos, articles, or social media postings. You need to get your message out.
- Plan: Time management is key in any new tech venture, especially when finances are limited. Concentrating too much on one aspect neglects other areas. Experienced project managers help your team focus.
- Customers: Building trust takes time and effort, but you must put ample energy into this. Win over new customers and turn them into evangelists of your brand.
- Competition: Examine how your competitors do things. Look at what they’re doing right and follow those strategies while always looking at how you can do it better.
- Difference: Whether through providing customers a unique product or clever marketing, you need to show that your product is different in order to stand out and be noticed.
The early days of any startup feel chaotic as if you’ve lost control. Don’t let little things affect you. Look at big picture issues, and concentrate on how to improve your product and, more importantly, your message.
Keep your team positive by reinforcing their successes and keep them focused on your vision while incorporating their enthusiasm into what you’re building. Make them stakeholders.
And it’s equally important to know when you need help. Muddling through on your own might sound noble or courageous, but often that type of thinking leads to failure. Reach out to others and make the process one where you, along with your company, are constantly learning and growing.
You don’t have to do everything right to succeed, but you need to keep moving forward.