5 Mantras for Startups to Deal with Challenges, Survive in the Chaos
We talked to Anand Naik, Director, Technology Sales (India & SAARC), Symantec on challenges startups face and how to ebb the tide
According to a recent global survey conducted by a security firm among entrepreneurs, of the small businesses founded post 2008, 46% expect to double their number of employees in the next two years and 75% expect revenue to grow more than 10%. Fewer small businesses founded prior to 2008 are as optimistic, with only 12% expecting to double employees and 39% expecting to grow revenues by more than 10 percent.
While the survey augurs well for starups, there are many challenges that startups face to take their business to the next level. Delivering a scalable, quality product is a big challenge for startups. The product is behind schedule, sales aren’t meeting projections, or even cases where people are not sure of technologies to be embraced to cust costs are obstacles that often come on the way of the smooth transitioning of startup business. Having said, there are ways and means of coming out of the closet and revamp your business. Here we will discuss tips for startups to survive in the chaos, solutions for them to improve scalability and more.
Tips for startups At the early stages, they need to focus completely on developing great products, building a customer base, creating awareness and recall in the market and attracting the right talent.
Startups need to be nimble in responding to customer and industry demands. VCs and angel investors keep a close watch on their expenditure and they don’t have the budgets for large IT implementations. Since startups are completely customer-focused, they need information and IT resources that are available and accessible 24X7.
Scalability is critical; Pinterest, for example, grew from 1 million users in July 2011 to 20 million users in July 2012. For startups to really grow and make a mark, they need the right IT infrastructure to support such massive increase in demand at a fast pace. Keys for startups to survive in the chaos Look at IT not just in terms of infrastructure, but in terms of the business need and in an informationcentric manner. IT can – and should – be a businessenabler; it should allow people (employees, customers, vendors) to be able to access the information they require regardless of their device/platform (through smartphones, tablets, etc.), irrespective of location or time. A degree of control is also required since startups don’t have the luxury of sustaining reputation losses caused by data breaches, lengthy downtime or information loss.
Cloud as a delivery model is very well-suited for startups that don’t have large budgets to invest in IT upfront. In addition, it takes the headaches of managing IT out of the entrepreneur’s mind, so that he can focus on their business without having to set aside a large budget for skilled personnel on non-core activities like IT. Startups can choose from one of three cloud models. The cloud computing model offers visible benefits that are looking for easy-to-use, reliable and scalable applications to enable business growth. Cloud computing allows startups to dynamically scale their
computing capability without having to invest in costly infrastructure.
Mobility is critical to a startup – the new-age entrepreneurs embrace technology in their personal lives and often use personal resources for the benefit of the company. This could range from using their own smartphones/tablets to access company data, to encouraging employees to also do the same. Managing mobile devices throughout their life-cycle therefore plays a significant role within a startup environment. Structured and well-defined policies and processes around mobile usage are needed from the word “go”, and not just after an incident occurs.
Startups – particularly in the e-commerce and technology space which seem to be the buzzwords right now – can go a long way in attracting customers through social media. Building capabilities to manage and make sense of large volumes of unstructured information may not seem important at the beginning, but can be a key differentiator in winning customers.
Finally, startups shouldn’t forget to backup. Young entrepreneurs may choose to bootstrap their way to success out of a garage, but this means they are susceptible to downtime due to power shutdowns, system crashes and failures. As simple as it sounds, backing up information saves one of the most important business assets – time to market.
Strong service-level agreements (SLAs) allow entrepreneurs to have the peace of mind that they are guaranteed what the vendor promises, thus allowing him to grow the business free of IT concerns. How startups can ensure data protection These days business is not just about owning and running a business but also being smart about IT and related technologies. And there is a lot to know when it comes to computers and technology as the Web has leveled the playing field. Today, computer security software is de facto to thwart potential online dangers such as malicious malware, spam threats and scams. Customer lists, account numbers, passwords, contracts, and other vital documents are the lifeblood of the business. Hacking victims typically lack security systems. And not only do businesses need security software, but also need policies for how laptops are to be handled, how to properly download software updates (that link may be a virus), and how to secure mobile devices. Policies, procedures, and good security software are the first line of defense. Businesses should deploy genuine security software that is legal, comes with support and provides timely updates to the product. To really stay ahead of today’s stealthy threats, SMBs and startups need a comprehensive security solution that provides:
End-to-end protection: The solution must be sophisticated enough to defeat not only known threats, but unknown threats as well. Startups need to know that their critical information is safe – wherever it’s used or stored. That means in laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and servers; in email; over the network; and in storage devices. They require a solution that automatically detects spam without requiring manual adjustment of filtering rules or monitoring of false positives.
Rapid, reliable backup and recovery: Ensuring that data and the systems it resides on are secure, backed up, and able to be recovered quickly is essential in today’s business environment. Startups need to easily restore data or systems and protect against new threats through automated, event-driven backups. Downtime must be minimized; that means users should be able to recover individual files and folders in seconds, or complete Windows systems in minutes.
Simplified management: For startups, simplicity is a significant priority. Most of them don’t have the staff or the expertise to spend time managing security. The security solution they select must be deployed with minimal disruption to business operations. Solutions for startups to improve scalability Today, cloud and virtualization allow a great deal of flexibility and scalability for organizations of all sizes. Startups can pay-as-they-use and use available IT resources more efficiently, investing more as the need arises, by leveraging these IT trends.
For a startup, the cloud computing model offers visible benefits that are looking for easy-to-use, reliable and scalable applications to enable business growth. Cloud computing allows startups to dynamically scale their computing capability without having to invest in costly infrastructure.
Strong service-level agreements (SLAs) allow entrepreneurs to have the peace of mind that they are guaranteed what the vendor promises, thus allowing him to grow the business free of IT concerns.
The cloud essentially frees organizations of IT, budgetary and operational constraints that can keep them from moving forward and achieving business goals.
This model can be leveraged for various IT needs such as security, availability and backup – all three of which are critical to the startup organizations.