It seems like lately every man and his dog has a side hustle or business that they’ve begun in their backyard, ready to take to the next level. Entrepreneurship is thriving and it’s all the more important for folks to wrap their heads around ‘biztech’.
If you’re out of the loop, biztech refers to the increasing reliance on information technology in a business context - it can be as simple as knocking together a pristine spreadsheet with all your data (a deeply satisfying feeling if ever there was one, I stand by this).
If you’re new to the world of business tech, it can seem pretty daunting. But it doesn’t have to be - with a bit of structure you can escalate your business from garage hobby to genuine hustle. All you have to do is follow these ten things to live by.
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1. Consult with experts
There is always going to be someone out there with a stronger understanding and skill set than you. Maybe you’re an ideas person who needs financial grounding or vice versa, but either way it can be hugely influential to consult with people whose talents lie in areas you’re lacking in. Sure, it can be tempting to stay insular to protect the business, but it’s worth expanding your fences for the sake of furthering progress.
2. Learn to love the data
Numbers are a beautiful thing, and it’s crazy how underestimated they are until you get your head around how they can affect your business in every way - from workflow to revenue and everything in between. Even if you’re not particularly strong with mathematics (I can definitely sympathise), it’s worth developing an understanding of how the numbers reflect your status and growth as a business. Relying on ‘gut feeling’ can only take you so far.
3. Ensure your security is top-level
From a technological standpoint, we’ve never been both so well protected and simultaneously so at risk of technological security breaches. You’ve worked hard to develop your business, and you don’t want that to be all for nothing just because you didn’t upgrade your security systems alongside your other growth areas. From elements as simple as having strong passwords through to full on encryption with layers of authentication protocols, it’s vital that you stay protected.
4. Stay up-to-date with innovation
Business technology is all about staying ahead of the curve wherever possible, and the easiest way to do that is to make sure you stay current when it comes to innovation and technology. Whether that means upgrading your internal software or using new techniques and methods in your day-to-day, you don’t want to end up being the contemporary equivalent of the business that still uses faxes as a central correspondence tool.
5. Be smart about investing
The ultimate sign of faith in your business is to invest your own hard-earned money into it, but there’s no use piling your funds in if you’re not aware of where the money should go. Allocate your funds wisely by focusing on areas that will make things run more smoothly, from software to people - maybe even hiring someone who can assist you with deciding where the funds would be most efficient. Also remember to take advantage of the instant asset tax-writeoff.
6. Implement marketing strategies
The core tenet of a successful business is fulfilling a customer’s needs - but there’s little chance if your customers aren’t even aware of who you are and what you do. Branding is imperative, and spreading awareness can open you up to new markets, new customers and new growth. With 14% of businesses folding due to poor marketing (according to CB Insights), implementing marketing strategies is vital to continued progress. Remember: setting up a Facebook page is free and a great way to stay connected to customers.
7. Know your market
There’s not much point spending on marketing strategies if you don’t know who your target market is. Sometimes this will be very self-explanatory (if you’re selling jewellery then chances are your demo will be females of a certain age group, and so on), but sometimes it can be a bit harder to narrow down.
8. Learn as much as you can
In order to stay on top of all the new developments in business tech, continual learning can be a huge help. Whether that’s brushing up on a skill or two, or enrolling in a course like RMIT’s Master of Business Administration (which is all online and allows you to focus on a specific concentration area suited to you), it can make a sizeable difference in how you approach biztech and the future of your own endeavours.
9. Stay flexible
We’re not talking about splits here. Flexibility is imperative, especially if you’re only just starting out or are in the early years of your business. A little adaptability goes a long way in safeguarding you against unexpected downturns, and that goes for all areas. Be flexible with your expectations, your goals, and even your employees. BYOD flexibility can increase productivity and employee happiness, for example (just be sure to follow commandment 3!)
10. Focus on what’s important
You’re obviously looking to make a profit from your business, and we don’t blame you. But remember that you started the business for a purpose and a passion - and those are the areas you don’t want to lose sight of. It can be easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of your day-to-day and lose sight of your bigger goals. When it comes down to it, the three most important elements of any business are: having purpose, continually learning, and surrounding yourself with the right people.