With only one-half of startups lasting five years, one wonders what keeps some afloat while others sink? Entrepreneurs must weigh endless decisions against collective experience and research to promote their business, rise above the competition, and keep from going under.

Deciding how to manage daily operations efficiently is a huge hurdle, especially because startup team members often wear various hats to cover all the bases, working outside their areas of expertise to get the job done. Communication and paperwork can end up all over the map, leading to poor customer service—detrimental for startups. Founders turn to digital solutions but may feel assaulted by all the options.

A unified digital workplace—one platform where all processes, projects, cases, and collaboration tools are maintained—delivers a remedy. Budget approval requests, advertising campaigns, customer inquiries, and policy revisions are executed on a central system.

Why choose such a comprehensive solution in the beginning?

Putting technology investments on the backburner is easy. We don’t have that much paperwork now. What we’re doing works just fine, and the budget for tech is minimal. Think ahead, though. When data and processes begin to multiply, implementing a digital workplace gets complicated. The benefits of a public platform, more budget-friendly than you may realize, bolster survival and growth.

From inception, a digital workplace ingrains three essential ingredients for success into your business.

Focused Intensity

Emerging businesses blunder operational management in one of three ways: trying to handle everything manually, acquiring too many apps that overlap, or selecting tools lacking flexible functionalities to meet business needs.

Juggling email, numerous apps, and manual workflow distract from high priority work.

Founders gain ample time for critical thinking problems like marketing and e-commerce strategies when daily processes and projects are organized in a digital workplace. Standard manual processes, such as expense approvals, purchase orders, and marketing content, are automated, freeing employees to dedicate energy to human tasks while machines take care of monotonous tasks. Small businesses implementing marketing automation see improvement in lead quality and pipeline growth more than twice as fast as mid-to-large organizations.

You may be thinking, wait…startups don’t have IT departments to do all that. Citizen development platforms make it possible for any business user without IT expertise to create simple automated applications with a drag-and-drop interface. Projects and cases are similarly organized in a unified workplace.

Integrated technology

Cloud-based applications’ low monthly rates make technology accessible to any business. The downside—information for logistics, scheduling, bookkeeping, and projects can end up siloed in separate applications. Moving data from one app to another by hand reduces efficiency and makes room for errors.

Integration is key to reaping the maximum benefits of cloud-based applications. Up-to-date tools come with easy integration capabilities, enabling links through a third-party app without coding. Only 13 percent of surveyed companies have issue-free, well-integrated systems, but this is something a new business can get right from the start.

Connecting apps in a digital workplace will save hours—days by the end of the year–in data management and also facilitate real-time reporting to monitor business metrics and analyze areas of inefficiency needing correction.

An integrated, digital workplace permits a scalable customer base and an expandable base of operations. When growth picks up, a startup team can endure with focused intensity instead of getting dragged down by increasing documentation and order demands.

Collaborative Culture

In a digital workplace, all employees work on the same platform for projects, cases, and repetitive processes where documents and forms are shared through open apps like Google Docs. A built-in forum for tracking community discussions and urgent news keeps everyone current. Access to projects and non-sensitive data is granted to all employees in case the information is needed for immediate reference.

Working in public allows teams to celebrate successes together and address issues collaboratively. At times, the solution to a problem may come unexpectedly from a team member on another project. When items are passed around, everyone is already aware through the workplace, so you don’t have to start at square one.

Timely decisions are possible through mobile access to notifications, approval requests, and other workflow checkpoints. As the business grows, remote workers can be pulled in for project needs that can’t be met in-house, such as graphic design.

According to a recent study, companies promoting collaboration perform more than five times higher. If you don’t think collaboration is that important, think again.

A small investment for a long-term payoff

Founders of startups surviving ten years or more thought ahead and made wise decisions for a sustainable business future. Though operations may be small now, an integrated digital workplace prevents miscommunication and disorganization from slowing down innovation and progress. Small investments made from the start set the stage for an action-oriented, customer-centered business that will outlast this generation.