Nate Nead is the President & CEO of DEV.co, a custom software development company based in Seattle.
Once you’ve obtained the capital required to launch your startup, it’s time to look at fulfilling your technical needs. Do you have a secure web server? An IT security specialist? A reliable computer setup? These are all important, but there’s more.
You can’t run a business in today’s world without the following technical necessities.
1. A universal phone number
If you travel around the world for business, you need an easy way to get your calls and text messages without having to buy a local phone for each trip. With a few tricks, you can get all your calls and texts on your personal phone.
Blogger Nima Gardideh figured out a genius way to get a universal phone number by using three different online services: Google Voice, Twilio, and stdlib. Google doesn’t forward numbers outside of the U.S., so it takes several services to make this work.
You might be thinking it’s just a matter of getting text messages through data, but it’s better than that. Gardideh says he’s received text messages in Japan and took phone calls in Egypt without access to data. How does he do it?
Gardideh routes his Google Voice account to a Twilio number that automatically forwards text messages and calls to local numbers he’s got set up around the world. With a few small tweaks to Twilio using Gardideh’s open source code, you’ll be all set.
2. An advanced search engine optimization strategy
Postponing SEO implementation postpones results. Don’t start slow thinking you’ll hit the ground running later. Implement your startup SEO strategy as early as possible. SEO produces results over time and the earlier you start, the better.
Your marketing decisions are always affected (and sometimes limited) by your site’s current standing in the search engine results pages (SERPs). For instance, say your startup launched last month and you’ve been generating content and backlinks the entire time. By the time you start considering affiliate partnerships, you’ll have a small amount of infrastructure (backlinks, domain authority, traffic) to support negotiating better terms.
Start building backlinks and optimizing your keywords today to generate organic traffic from Google as quickly as possible.
No matter how much or how little content you have, there’s plenty you can do. For example, once you know the keywords you’d like to target, when it comes to keyword research, we suggest the following:
Even if you only have one page published, don’t wait to start optimizing your website. If you skip SEO for six months, you’ll always be six months behind.
3. A virtual phone system
Never underestimate the level of support you’ll get from a centralized, digital (virtual) phone system. Whether you have remote employees or an office full of staff, you need a phone system that ties everyone together and routes all calls through a centralized system.
The main reason for using a virtual phone system is to route incoming calls to the right people. When you’re just starting out, you might be tempted to use the first piece of free forwarding software you can find. Here’s why that’s a bad idea:
Free software usually ends up becoming unsupported and vulnerable to exploitation. There are exceptions when the software developers are committed to the project.
You’ll have to manage multiple pieces of software to make your phone system work. For instance, your voicemail, toll-free number, and automated system will all be separate pieces of software.
Your forwarding options will be limited. For example, you can forward all calls to a specific number, but you probably won’t be able to schedule the system to forward calls to different numbers at different times in the day.
At some point, you’ll need to find replacements as each component becomes unsupported and compatibility between replacement application could be an issue.
To avoid these issues and gain access to advanced phone management features, sign up for a reputable digital call management service. There are plenty of virtual phone systems to choose from. The most popular is Google Voice for business.
Technology is now a requirement for business
Not too long ago, technology was cool, interesting, and fun. Businesses who got on board with new technology enjoyed a little more convenience, but it wasn’t a necessity like it is today.
To stay ahead of the curve, keep an eye out for new tech that promises to help you become more successful with your venture-backed startup. Yesterday’s cutting-edge novelty is tomorrow’s technical necessity.