a coffee shop owner uses a computer to check bills. In the background two staff attend to the orders.
Are you starting a new business? Here are five technologies you’ll need to set yourself up for success. — Getty Images/Sturti

In our Startup2021 series, we're helping aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the business climate of the COVID-19 era. Each week, we'll share an in-depth look at one step you can take toward launching your business in 2021.

When launching a startup, having the right tech tools in place can help set you up for lasting success. Here’s why technology matters for entrepreneurs and some must-have technologies for any brand new business.

How technology can help your startup

Technology has become an increasingly important component of successful businesses across industries. Business owners can easily communicate with their customers and expand brand awareness through social media and other digital marketing strategies. The right tech solutions can also empower entrepreneurs to streamline their processes and keep organized, which is crucial for scalability. Product-based businesses can also utilize technology to improve the sales process for both employees and customers.

[Read more: 10 Tech Tools To Scale Your Business]

Must-have technologies for a brand new business

Whether you’re still in the planning phase or have just launched your business, having these five technologies in place will make your job significantly easier:

Customer relationship management (CRM) system

A customer relationship management (CRM) system helps you collect, organize and analyze client information. This process allows you to build and maintain relationships with your existing customers and find potential new customers. Many businesses rely on cloud-based platforms, such as Salesforce and Hubspot, to manage their client relations as their businesses grow.

Project management software

Whether you’re a solopreneur or have a small team in place already, you’ll need a way to keep track of your company’s projects. Project management software can help make your workflow more organized and efficient, which is especially crucial if you have (or plan to have) multiple employees. Online project management tools, such as Trello and Asana, can help teams communicate and share crucial information throughout the process.

While larger corporations often have complex data security systems in place, small businesses can also fall victim to a cyber attack if they do not take steps to protect themselves.

Online data storage

While companies once had to rely on in-house servers to store their growing data, many small businesses are instead turning to online data storage services. Programs like Dropbox and Google Drive allow organizations to keep their data exclusively cloud-based, which allows team members to easily access information regardless of their physical location. Even if you do opt to keep an in-house server, backing up your data to the cloud provides an extra layer of protection, should something happen to your computer or server.

Financial management tools

Keeping track of your business’s finances is critical for success. Investing in accounting software early on allows you to continuously monitor cash flow, track expenses and manage employee payroll. QuickBooks remains a popular option for small business owners due to its ease of use and scalability, while entrepreneurs with simple billing can turn to free software such as Wave.

Cybersecurity software

Most businesses utilize a network connection to some degree, be it internal data storage or an online point of sale system. While larger corporations often have complex data security systems in place, small businesses can also fall victim to a cyber attack if they do not take steps to protect themselves. Setting up cybersecurity software early in your business can protect valuable company and customer data. A great place to start is purchasing antivirus software, which guards computers and networks against viruses and other malicious attacks. You may also consider purchasing a business VPN to ensure only authorized users can access your network.

[Read more: Expert Strategies for Incorporating Technology Into Your Business Operations]

Considerations for choosing small business technology

Before investing in any technology solutions, do your research and consider your business’s unique needs — both now and in the future. For example, a free version of a program may be sufficient in the short term, but you may need to upgrade to a paid solution as your business grows. Some software solutions offer free demos or trials that can give you a better idea of what will work for your company, long-term.

Regardless of which specific tools you utilize, having the right technology in place will allow your new business to get off on the right foot toward lasting success.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Forget your passwords (on purpose)

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Published August 11, 2021