Modern Businesses, Legacy Systems: The Underlying Structures Dictating It All

This modern era of startups has created a twinge of information regarding what underlying systems are needed for operations. Some are quick to say how a website and good marketing is all that’s needed. A mindset like that neglects items like financial backing to customer management solutions.

What are those systems so new startups don’t stunt their growth?

First, Understand the Startup Hurdles

Cash flow is a typical reason why many startups fail. The lack of planning and money-on-hand limits prevents said business from sourcing quality employees, product, and marketing. An entrepreneur dazzled by easy riches from the simple act of creating a website or listing products on Amazon may attempt to skip the all-important step of raising funds.

Luckily, there are a few old-school financial methods for the modern era:

·  Securing capital with a Lending Club loan

·  Crowdsourcing through Kickstarter or WeFunder

·  Attracting angel investors via Funded

Two aligned hurdles added to the challenge are keeping operations lean and securing talent.

Traditionally, small businesses grew based on their local talent pool and marketplace. These two have expanded beyond borders due to online sales and tapping freelance/outsourced professionals. Access to talent – in an a la carte manner – gives the business a way to adapt to market changes on-the-fly, during periods of high demand, without the need to keep individuals on the payroll.

The result: Lower overhead and operational costs.

Then, Consider the Base Hardware & Software

The systems may have shifted online. But, the basic premise of what’s needed for operations with hardware and software remains.

These systems include:

·  Security

·  Point-of-sale

·  Communication

·  Logistics

Security has become less about intrusion and physical theft and more-so about cyber. Small businesses should tap big data when understanding and implementing security. The cybersecurity ties in with the modern point-of-sale systems (e.g. Square). The sales channel is locked along with customer data much like keeping deposits and information stored in on-site safes and deposits.

Communication has made a massive leap forward through VOIP tools, CRM solutions, and mobile devices allowing employees to work from any location (or anytime). The fundamentals of business communication remain the same – aiding the team, handling customers – but now with streamlined access, tracking, and reporting.

The evolution of logistics has granted speedy delivery to overcome the consumer pushback caused by the lack of interaction in online shopping. It’s entirely possible to operate without having never seen inventory since it’s housed in third-party distribution centers or drop shipped.

What the Future May Hold (and Possibly Revive)

We’re beyond the point of the faceless online storefront. We’re seeing a resurgence of personalized experiences. Personalization built through strong relationships with customers and malleable marketing platforms rekindles the “old time feeling” people had with small businesses – where it felt as if you knew the person behind the counter. And, how the business played a role in the local community.

Localization through translation services and targeted campaigns has brought boundless businesses back into the local forefront. Social media usage has turned from soapbox to podium to intimate meeting now that platforms have matured – another resurgence of one-on-one communication.

What else?

·  AI assistants to know customer needs before they’re a burden

·  Print campaigns mixed with augmented reality to add new layers of interactivity

·  Cryptocurrencies removing required payment processors allowing for direct exchanges

These aren’t far off technologies blending the line between reality and science fiction. These are “old school” business practices left by the wayside – in favor of online strategies – that are now coming back.

Old is New, Again

The image of business operations has changed since the adoption of the Web. But, the underlying systems and practices tend to remain the same. It’s still about providing quality service and products to an adorning marketplace – how it gets there is what makes it seem different.

What underlying systems do you feel remain a staple in startups?

Share your thoughts, experiences, and predictions about how the old is becoming the new, again, in the comments below.