Saturday

Want to Launch your Tech Startup? Here’s What you Should know


You finally had it. You had the epiphany that brought you the brilliant tech idea that will make you a millionaire. Now, it’s just a matter of putting together a team, developing the idea, and sitting down to wait while people fall in love with it. If that is how you plan to get your tech startup off the ground, then I’ve got news for you—you’re going to fail. Hard.


You could have the best idea in the world but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up with a successful tech company. To get there, you’ll have to do a lot of things, from planning to securing funds and talking to a lot of people. It won’t be easy, especially because you’ll have to avoid certain pitfalls, like hiring Javascript software development pros before you need them or believing you can do everything on your own.


If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve already realized that. That’s a good starting point. Now, it’s time to take that superb idea of yours and turn it into a startup that can survive the dreaded first four years of existence, when 44% have to close shop. How can you do that? By following a plan. Here’s a roadmap that can help you with that.


tech-startup


1 – Design a reasonable business plan


Every entrepreneur and business owner in the world will tell you that the first step after having your idea is to have a business plan. Sounds easy but it can be tricky—especially if you want a reasonable one. 


To get you started, you’ll have to write some things down. First of all, describe your idea in the clearest possible way. If you can explain it in a couple of sentences, you’ll have struck gold: overcomplicated ideas can confuse people, especially funding executives that don’t have much time to listen to complex pitches.


After that, you should also write down what you are expecting for your company’s future, mainly in the first 5 years of your startup existence. What will be your first steps? How will you build your product or service? Where will you get your customers? Which marketing strategies will you use? What would be your ideal team? Where will you get the money to get you going? These are but a few of the questions you’ll have to answer to get a reasonable business plan.


Keep in mind the “reasonable” part. Nobody is stopping you from planning to get your first million customers in the first couple of years. And while that could happen (why not?), aiming for that is setting you up for failure.


2 – Learn everything you can (especially marketing)


Believing that you know everything about your idea simply because you had it is just foolish. There’s plenty to be learned regarding the tech world, even if you’re an enthusiast that reads, watches videos and attends seminars about it. You can learn how to make strategic decisions, how to work with in-house teams or with offshore Javascript companies, take a dive into software development basics, you name it.


There’s one inescapable topic you’ll have to learn whether you like it or not: marketing. You’ll be the first and most important salesman behind your tech product or service, so you have to know how to market it in today’s world. That means you’ll have to learn several key aspects such as content marketing, social media marketing (SMM), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM).


All of that can be combined with some old but effective techniques like print advertising and TV spots. However, you don’t have to burden yourself with everything marketing-related. Just stick to the things that can be useful for your tech startup.


There are lots of ways in which you can learn about this and other topics. You can take online courses, read ebooks about it, talk to experts, attend conferences or everything you can think of. The takeaway here is simple—learn about the things that can make you a better entrepreneur but never neglect marketing, as it will be the cornerstone of your business’ growth.


3 – Secure funding


Now it’s when the fun starts! This step will have you going out to secure the capital you need to turn your idea into a reality. There are several things involved in doing this and there aren’t one-size-fits-all recipes you can follow. However, there are certain aspects you can keep in mind to be successful in this stage.


First and foremost, you have to know where to look for funds. You can’t expect to knock on someone’s door, tell him or her your idea, and check your bank account for a wire transfer. You also can’t expect to put all the money you saved on your day job, though that’s what most entrepreneurs do. 


Why can’t you do that? First, because it’s impractical. But most importantly, because the cost of starting a business can be really high, even higher than you might think. If you did your business plan right, then you should have a sales forecast, predicted investments, and a cash-flow statement to say the least. 


startup funding


All the information contained in those documents can give you some sort of hints of how much money you’ll initially need to raise. After doing the proper math, you’ll definitely see that the total amounts to a number higher than you could have anticipated. That’s especially true if there’s some sort of development included, like hiring a mobile app development team or using Javascript development services.


There might even be some costs you’re not seeing, like how much money you’ll need to maintain your digital platform or website, or how much will it cost to acquire the minimum number of customers you need to keep your business open. Why are we stressing all of this? Because you’ll have to talk to professionals to get a loan from a bank or convince investors about your idea’s feasibility. And since those people are used to dealing with entrepreneurs, you’ll have to present a reasonable case for your tech startup or go home empty-handed.


Naturally, you can always raise money through friends, family, angel investors or even crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. But that could have you giving away too much equity, which might be your ruin in the long run. So, you better build a strong case before talking to banks and selected investors so you have a higher chance of convincing them.


4 – Network, network, network


One thing that sets successful entrepreneurs apart from those that keep failing is that the former usually makes connections with people wherever they go. They are open to meet new people in seminars, conferences, coworking offices, heck, even in the coffee shops they go on a daily basis. 


Why do they do this? There are two reasons. The first one is that they know that everyone they meet can bring them some insight or knowledge they didn’t have. Thus, new people can tell you how they solve an issue you might find down the road, motivate you to keep going, share some industry secrets with you—even offer you to stay in touch to discuss ideas!


The second reason hides in that last phrase. You never know who you’re going to meet. Maybe you’re talking to an angel investor by chance. Perhaps the woman sharing lunch at the same table as you is a powerful executive in a big name brand within your industry. It could happen that you sit next to an up-and-coming development star at a conference.


Having that sort of people within your contacts might not feel fruitful from the get-go, but some of them can come in handy later on. Be sure to open yourself to talk to people you never met or who don’t necessarily share your opinions. You’ll enrich your point of view and you might even get some advice (or even some help) to move your startup forward.


5 – Form a team 


Having contacts from around the tech industry doesn’t mean you have a team. And you’ll definitely want to build one if you want your startup to succeed because walking the walk on your own can be next to impossible. So, what do you need to start? If you could say anything, maybe you’d pick UX designers, people from Javascript development companies, PR marketing stars. Don’t go over yourself. In these early stages, you need a core team to help you grow.


The number of members you’ll need for your team will depend on the product or service you are about to launch. What’s sure is that you won’t need a big family to get you going. In fact, you won’t even need to hire them to be part of your organization just yet. You can rely on freelance professionals or hire them by the hour. 


The absolute basic resources you’ll need by your side at this stage include a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial advisor. All of them can provide suggestions on your overall business and help you make more informed decisions without taking a wrong turn. From knowing the regulations that mandate your niche to understanding cash flow, all of them are essential members of your core team.


After getting their assistance, you can start searching for more specific roles, always within your budget. We’re talking about designers, community managers, marketing experts, and Javascript development outsourcing pros, to name a few.


6 – Build a presence and a customer base


Any reputable company needs a physical and a digital address. You can’t expect anyone to take you seriously if you’re working from limbo. As for your physical office, it doesn’t matter if you rent, share a coworking office, or work from your parent’s garage. The important thing is that you have an address that can put you on the map.


Equally important is for you to have an online presence starting with a website. Whenever you talk to someone, they’ll ask you where can they find more information about your startup. The first day that happens, you need to have a website in place. So, that means that you have to work on it early on because it’ll become one of the biggest assets when it comes to promoting your brand.


That’s especially important if you also understand that, once you launch your product, you’ll have to devote yourself almost exclusively to promote it. So, you won’t have time to oversee the development of a website. Your prospective customers will surely go online to look for you when they hear about your existence, so you’ll have to be prepared to greet them in the best possible way.


Naturally, you shouldn’t skimp on your website development. It has to look the part, load lightning fast, and be as informative and educational as possible. Most of your marketing efforts will bring potential leads to your website, so you have to have the best possible site or risk losing people interested in you because your website is bad.


Of course, your online presence shouldn’t end there. You should also create profiles on several social media platforms, especially in those where your target audience is. Don’t just create them for the sake of having them! It’s best to have one or two social media profiles in the networks where your customers are hanging out than having a lot of profiles that feel deserted or abandoned.


Using those social profiles will be key to create the customer base, along with other marketing efforts you surely learned some stages ago. 


Summing all up


Launching a tech startup is a risky business. There are plenty of things that can go wrong, either because you don’t have enough experience, don’t know how to invest your money, can’t secure funding, or don’t have a plan in place. So, if you truly want to prevent that, it’s time to sit down to plan and work to get things right.


Following the 6 steps above won’t guarantee that your business won’t eventually fail. But taking that advice will significantly reduce the chances of that happening. Since you surely want to become that startup millionaire you always dreamed about, maybe you can be convinced by this—you’ll never go anywhere without a lot of planning and work. Good luck!


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