Collaboration Helps Startups Grow
The ability to communicate quickly is essential for most American startups these days. No one needs to be bound to a desk, and smartphones and tablets can connect you to anyone in your network via mobile applications and shared-file tools like Google Drive.
Think of the frequency of calls and emails with contractors, business associates, local civic leaders and personal contacts that will dominate your days during startup mode. At minimum, you'll need to call them on the phone; however, the ability to interact in virtual meeting rooms will help your new business grow as rapidly as possible.
Here are some other ways for your startup to collaborate using technology:
Smartphones and Tablets
If you're on the road, heading to a presentation, you don't need to tote a laptop to the meeting. Just send it to a larger screen at the meeting via the smartphone.
Some of the newer tablets also have great tools for presentations. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note includes an enhanced S Pen and multiscreen functionality that enables users to circle and tag information like a virtual whiteboard or notepad. Even if you project the presentation, you can use the screen like you would the whiteboard in a classroom with clients or colleagues able to interact with the project. Then, those notes are transferable electronically, so you don't have to worry about losing a piece of paper or taking a photo of a brainstorming session scribbled on a wall.
Another example is the BlackBerry PlayBook. With this, collaboration is as simple as pulling up projects on a slideshow app for one-on-one viewing during business meetings, or using a wireless projector to beam your presentation to a crowd during a larger session. Additionally, Entrepreneur says that tablets like the BlackBerry PlayBook are “less expensive, lighter and more portable than even the most ultra-portable laptop.” So, like the Galaxy Note, it’s an example of lightning-fast, multitasking business tool that is easy to use anywhere.
With startups, you have so many documents to draw from that a central location where all stakeholders can go and access them in real time is a must. Cloud storage enables you to keep all of that big data—the customer information, scanned documents with sensitive information and reels of videos, for example—in a central place where they’re protected and available. And, as your startup evolves, consider shifting to a cloud provider to store multimedia files, large data sets or anything containing proprietary information or sensitive customer data.
When you decide to shift to the cloud, you’ll have to do some homework since Cloud Times lists at least 100 top providers for 2014. Furthermore, it’s important to examine a provider’s security process and track record to make sure it’s a worthwhile investment.
Like tablets and phones, cloud computing is essential to take your business to the next level of development because it provides you with the flexibility to work outside of the office as well as share and collaborate on documents and presentations in real time.
Michael Ferraresi is a Phoenix-based writer. He worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic and www.azcentral.com, the leading news organization in the state, for several years before moving on to work primarily in higher education.