Why startups should lead the way in embracing tech
Technology is vital to startups, levelling the playing field and making more things than ever before accessible to new businesses. However, technology can also feel daunting, especially if you're launching a startup - it's tempting to stick to the tools and techniques you know. In his latest blog Matt Doyle, Virgin StartUp ambassador and founder of innovative technology business Launchcloud, talks about why startups need to fight this temptation and lead the way in using the newest tools to reap the benefits.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my last blog and the points I made about technology being really useful to businesses, and now I want to speak some more about how vital it is for small businesses to take the plunge and lead the way in embracing technology. I always find it surprising how many businesses are reluctant to try new technology; I suppose it’s because they feel comfortable with what they know. I’ve always thought that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone when you’re running a business, and embracing technology is a big part of this.
If you’ve never read a book called “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore, you should get a copy. Moore talks about the challenges of securing buy-in to innovative technology, and the chasm between early adopters and the early majority; early adopters being those who grasp new technology as soon as possible and the early majority being those who wait for solid proof of potential. He writes about the challenge of bridging the gap. It’s a fascinating read and helps to emphasise my point that small businesses need to run with innovation as soon as they can. Waiting and doubt don't promote strength and growth.
At Launchcloud we’re always looking for ways of making the business run more smoothly, including any useful technology we come across. Most recently we’ve been using Slack as a communications tool. It’s so useful to just be able to message anyone on the team and share documents with them digitally. I think this is pretty vital for any business these days; especially with people working remotely more often, which can make working with a paper-based system a bit of a nightmare.
I witnessed more of how much technology can help when I visited Zara Cakes in Manchester recently. I met the owner, Zara Neild, as she’s also a Virgin start-up ambassador. Now she’s using Launchcloud in her business. We made a video of my visit, with Zara speaking about how much using Launchcloud had revolutionized the business. They made the change from using paper-based ordering, and efficiency has improved so much that there’s talk of expansion and even a Zara Cakes school.
The point I’m making is that stepping into new territory should be what running a small business is all about. Trying new technology is a great way of improving the way you work. As small and medium business owners we should be using technological innovation to our best advantage; to help us strengthen and grow.