Getting your business off and running is always exciting. You have to overcome a lot to get a business started. So many good business ideas come to nothing before the opening day ceremony can commence. So when you do successfully get a business started, it is worth celebrating.
Congratulations! You have hit stage 1 of your business. Stage 1 might last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. It is the establishment stage where you establish your business as a real thing that both you and the public can count on. Most businesses never make it out of stage 1.
Stage 2 is about growth. This is when your business goes from merely sustainable to truly profitable. You are not just bringing on more customers, but are introducing more products and taking on more staff. To get from stage 1 to stage 2, you need second-level technology to augment, or even replace almost everything you are currently using. Here are a few of the things that second-level upgrade entails:
As a small business owner who is just getting started, it is perfectly okay to kick things off with an inexpensive personal computer. You would be hard-pressed to spot the difference between these, and computer hardware marketed toward businesses. But at some point, you are going to need more than that to handle the demands of a growing business.
In stage 2 of your business, you will have acquired a lot of information that you will need to store and access on occasion. You will also have amassed enough information to strain the capacity of a typical hard drive. That information will need to be accessed by more people at once than a typical piece of consumer hardware can handle.
That is where bigger iron like 4u servers come into view. Getting server hardware is about optimizing capacity, performance, security, and reliability. Frequent and extended downtime is not an option. And security is job one when dealing with other people’s sensitive information. A server is a serious piece of computing for serious businesses.
In the early phase of your business, you can probably get away with having things written down on scraps of dead trees and filed away in tin boxes. But that simply will not do for a growing business that has reached the second stage of its development.
What that means is you have to digitize everything. You need to do everything from issue forms to capture signatures digitally. There are many reasons why it is important to digitize everything. Some of the reasons include the following:
- Availability of documentation
- Better legal compliance
- Faster retrieval and distribution
- Cost savings
Paper takes up space. It is heavy. It is insecure. And it is trivially easy to damage. Moreover, it can’t be easily edited or updated in any way. To do so, you usually need more paper. If things are handwritten, the challenge multiplies. Now there is a heightened opportunity for misreading data. Not everyone can read even legible handwriting. Not only does digitizing the data guarantee a readable font, that font can be manipulated to be larger for greater accessibility. Second-level data handling means digitization.
That server is going to require some serious business software. Once your business starts growing, you will need to go beyond the limitations of the software from Apple and Microsoft. You need real accounting software, and human resource management (HRM) software, and database software, and business-class team communication software, and… You get the idea.
If for no other reason, your new security threat level demands a higher level of software. You can no longer get away with doing this on your own from your consumer laptop running free software that came with the system. It is irresponsible and highly dangerous. Stage 2 hardware needs stage 2 software.
These things don’t happen all at once. It takes some time to put everything together that you need for the next stage of your success. So even before you get there, be sure to start looking into business servers, business-class software, and a way to digitize everything.