How to Choose the Right Tech for Your Startup

December 31, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’ve gathered enough resources for that you’ve been toying with for years, got the right people on your side, you’re mentally prepared for the stress of getting it off the ground and you’re excited.
As most businesses revolve around nowadays, your next step is picking which tech your new company will use. Below is the only beginner’s guide you’ll ever need…

Choosing the platform

When it comes to the right platform for your product, there are two main contenders to consider – mobile and web. 

The questions: Does the idea feels like it’ll neatly fit in a mobile app? Is it more of a platform? Remember, though, that one doesn’t negate the other. 
It’s sometimes even better for two platforms to coexist, creating a more flexible product. Choosing one when you’re starting up feels much less overwhelming and you can always build a complementary web page, or app, after you launch the product.

Note: It’s generally safer to go for a web app first since they’re more flexible and leave room for error fixing. They also don’t require the cross-platform compatibility of Android/iOS dedicated apps. 

Choosing the devices

Now it’s time to think about the equipment your company will use – an option that might seem daunting, especially if you follow the trend of ‘bring your own device’ for your employees. 
Still, your business requires a reliable and powerful client device and this choice can ultimately make a world of difference. Your primary options in this area include:

  • Desktops. PCs are pricier but also much more powerful. While you don’t necessarily need them from the get-go, having at least one dedicated desktop computer makes task execution much more seamless.
  • Laptops. These devices are much more compact than desktops but tend to have the same capabilities. If your includes a lot of mobility, you’ll need at least one for more complex tasks, such as memos, writing and running statistics. 

  • Smartphones. Modern businesses are all about instant communication, so many use smartphones as primary client devices. They’re a simple way to communicate with vendors and partners, especially with the numerous mobile business apps now available.

  • Tablets. These gadgets combine smartphone flexibility and laptop capabilities, making them fantastic for complicated business actions on the go. 

Of course, you can, and sometimes must, mix and match these and add more devices to your supply as your business grows. For starters, picking one or two should be good enough.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Cybersecurity Matters Now More Than Ever

Choosing the operating system

You know what you’re making and which devices you’re using in your company. The next step is picking the operating system for your equipment. Let’s examine the pros and cons of the three most prominent options.

Windows: Around 80% of the overall market runs on this OS, according to recent counts. So, going for Windows requires almost no training for your employees, at least regarding the basics. Moreover, its prevalence ensures that you won’t face issues regarding software compatibility. On the other hand, Windows is notoriously prone to cyber attacks, meaning that you’ll have to invest more time and money in implementing security systems. 

OS: Mac is famous for running smoothly, causing few to no software issues, and providing you with a lot of seamless power. Still, while high-end Macs are super-, they tend to be quite pricey. If you’re spending so much on a computer, you should also consider a robust antivirus for Mac to ensure you’re protecting your investment.

Linux: Linux is a free kernel that lets you modify your operating system according to your needs much more than the previous two options. Plus, it’s smooth and quite secure. It also isn’t very easy to use and you’ll often have to create new business-specific programs instead of downloading pre-existing ones. 

Choosing a stack

Lastly, it’s time to pick a stack on which your code will run. This decision requires careful consideration or you might end up with a faulty product. 
Selecting your stack depends on the platform, product type and the number of users you expect. There’s a lot of variety on the market, but top companies show a clear preference for specific programs. Their tendencies tend to stray towards the following:

  • Frameworks – Django and Node.js

  • Programming languages – Java, PHP, Python

  • Servers – Apache and NGINX

  • DevOps – Docker and Github

  • Databases – MySQL

Most corporations also use Analytics for their metrics and rely on Slack or Trello for their task management. Of course if these tools don’t meet your requirements, don’t use them.

Related: How This Company’s Tech Got to Mars

Pitfalls to avoid

Let’s finish by discussing some of the common startup hiccups in picking technology to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.  

Skipping Competitive Analysis: One of the first steps in any startup rule book is seeing what your competition is doing. However, many new business owners disregard the tech used by their main rivals. Learning these facts can be massively informative and help you make the right choice yourself.

Wasting Money: The tech you purchase at the beginning is likely to stay with you for the years to come. Make sure that you’re not getting the newest software for its big promises, but for what it can truly do for your company. Otherwise, those funds can go in another, more useful direction.

Not Testing: Once you implement the new software, it should start making your life easier, saving time and automating manual tasks. 

If you don’t monitor, configure and maintain your virtual tools, you miss many benefits. Technology in businesses is best when combined with a human component, so dedicate the time necessary to make it work in your favor.

The bottom line

Finally, remember that these suggestions touch upon only a fraction of the possibilities you have available. You can always go for alternative, niche software and devices if they better match your goals. 
These platforms, operating systems and stacks are so popular because they work. Try not to overthink it once you’ve found a good mix of effectiveness, reliability, and affordability, but go on to the next stages. There’s a long road ahead of you.

Related: Preparing The Next Generation Of Creative Entrepreneurs

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