Usually when people start their online entrepreneurships, regardless if it is just an expansion into the online market or if it is a strictly online business venture, they start with a basic setup and are optimistic about the expenses they are going to have to invest into their IT department. This "honeymoon period" lasts until things get serious and IT problems that hold back your expansion start crawling their ugly head. At that point, most companies realize that they will have to invest into their IT equipment and software tools so they can keep building up their online presence. For a lot of people, this can be a showstopper since they are trapped in a situation where their growth has stopped, or even worse, it's in decline and they don't have the finances to get the necessary resources to boost their growth and get things rolling again.
There are ways you can bridge this gap if you plan things carefully and prioritize. There are a few things that can help you get some of the necessary resources, without having to make any capital investments.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
This kind of approach to hiring can help your business get all the necessary equipment without having to invest, but the situation is far from ideal. There are some problems that can occur in terms of networking devices that use different OS, acquiring software that are compatible with every device, and so on. On the other hand, your employees will feel most comfortable if they are using devices that they are accustomed to; they will be able to access data and be up to speed even when they are at home. It is not an ideal setup, but it may help you get things off the ground without taking a chunk off your budget.
If you don't have the manpower to handle things like SEO, blogging and Social Network management, you can always resolve these issues by making smaller investments and hiring a freelancer to manage these things for you. The same goes for covering one time needs that you don't expect to have anytime soon. Outsourcing can be risky because not all freelancers are reliable and if you don't pick your business partners carefully, you can end up wasting your funds without making any progress. But if you play your cards right, you can find professional freelancers who are willing to do the work diligently and at affordable prices. Check out websites like Elance and oDesk, but be careful and take your time when picking out who to work with.
Cloud based IT services, regardless if they are IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service), also give you a solution when it comes to sidestepping major investments into software, equipment and manpower, while still getting the resources and tools you need. Cloud services are usually charged on a per use basis or through monthly subscriptions, with some SaaS and PaaS setups. All cloud services offer flexibility, scalability and stability, and, in most cases, all updates and equipment maintenance is handled by the provider, leaving you with a few worries less. Here are some examples of how cloud technology can help you get things under control while still having a tight leash on your budget.
- Cloud Hosting
If your traffic is on the rise and you anticipate that you will soon outgrow your current hosting setup, you don't want to get into a situation where you can't handle the amount of traffic since this directly means that you are losing customers you worked hard to reach. Cloud Hosting is perfect for businesses that need to change the amount of resources that are at their disposal and cut down when they need to save money. It is charged on a per use basis and you get complete control through the user control panel.
- Cloud Call Centers
Regardless if you have a need for an inbound call center, outbound call center or a hybrid of these two, Cloud based call centers can be a permanent or a part-time solution for companies that don't want, or feel that they don't need to invest into a premise based call center. Naturally, this means that you are again avoiding investing into equipment, managing updates and maintenance, etc. You also get access to advance features like hosted ACD, hosted IVR and loads more.
Some other ideas
Depending on your situation and needs, there are loads of options that business startups and small businesses resort to in times of need.
- Problem: Business space deficiency
Resolution: Start from home
- Problem: High telecommunication bills
Resolution: Explore online communication options
- Problem: Few leads and no business partners
Resolution: Try networking with other people from your niche through LinkedIn or blogs like ProBlogger, or you can try Google+ and its circle networking methods.
- Problem: Not enough money
Resolution: Explore crowdsourcing solutions like Kickstarter
I hope I managed to give you some information that you can use to resolve some of the issues that are bothering you. Best of luck in your future endeavors.