If you are an entrepreneur with the goal of starting a business in any area of technology, there are two things you should know right off the bat. The first would be that the United States saw more than 71,000 startups within the past year, or to put it another way, the nation with the highest number of startups not followed closely by anyone. The second point is what deserves your full attention. The competition is stiff. With that in mind, the following tips can help you launch a successful startup, even amid the battle that lies before you.
1. Establish Credibility
With such stiff competition in the industry, the one thing you will want to do is establish credibility. Unfortunately, in the very beginning as you launch your startup you can’t rely on things like client reviews or an as-yet non-existent history. So then, how do you establish credibility lacking these two very important considerations? The best way to accomplish this, lacking third-party recommendations, would be to hire a team leader or director who has a minimum of a master’s in computer science online, or land-based degree. It helps to have that Masters in Computer Science online degree from a renowned institution like Baylor University because you can also draw on the credibility and history of the school issuing the degree!
2. Line up Funding
Although your goal is to launch a startup with maximum potential and minimum investment, that may not be possible due to other tips on this list. As a rule of thumb, always have enough money in reserve to keep you afloat through that first 12 to 24 months in business. That’s how long it takes the average startup to begin realizing a profit, so be prepared. You may not need to call upon those reserves, but they are there if you need them. Seek low interest business loans and perhaps even investors willing to accept payment in things like percentage points. This will assure you the startup capital you need without the worry of immediate monthly repayment bills.
3. Draw Heavily on Research and Data Analysis
This should be what the kids today call a no-brainer. As a technology startup you fully understand the necessity of research and data analysis in literally every aspect of your business. From keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in your niche to data that will help you target a very specific audience in marketing, you won’t survive long without crunching those numbers. Here, we refer back to the very real point that the competition is stiff. Data analysis can help you discover weaknesses in other tech companies that you can address. It’s a way to give you what the competition doesn’t have!
4. See to All the Legal ‘Niceties’
Yes, that is meant to be humorous. There is nothing nice about legal compliance but it’s a means to an end. Make sure to have your tech startup officially licensed and registered to do business in the way in which you intend to operate. Whether you will have a land-based shop or go solely with an online endeavor, you will need to ensure ‘regulatory compliance.’ Determine what type of company you want to register and then follow all the steps for registration in your city, county, state and federal governments. Yes, even the feds have you coming and going so you’ll need, at a bare minimum, a federal EIN. Don’t forget that Uncle Sam will demand his share of your profits as well!
5. Watch Your Back
This may be considered within those above-mentioned legal niceties, but if you want real business protection going forward, invest a little heavier in business liability insurance. Sadly, with no nicer way to say this, some people are sue-happy. They are out to get something for nothing as is evidenced by all the ambulance chasing attorneys out there. One lawsuit, warranted or not, can quickly put you out of business unless you have enough, and the right kind of, business liability coverage. Bear in mind that most states require certain types of business insurance but if you want the best protection, pay a little more for a lot of extra coverage.
6. Invest Heavily in Marketing
Investing heavily in marketing doesn’t always mean a capital investment. As a tech guru, you understand research and data analysis. Whether you contract a marketing firm or do the groundwork yourself, invest enough time (and potentially money) in understanding your market. Bear in mind that most consumers, business or private, now search for brands and products online, so SEO (organic and paid) is an absolute must. Invest enough time and effort into researching the segment of the market you are targeting and then find channels most likely to appeal to your audience. From Google ads to SEO content, flood the internet with proven effective marketing strategies.
Make sure that you are using technologies and software to help drive internal productivity. This does not mean that you have to spend a ton of money on the software. You can always turn to platforms like the pirate bay and get the work software you need. You can also get a ton of free video editing software from the website.
7. Make It a Team Effort
As one last piece of advice, try to avoid going solo if at all possible. It is extremely difficult, sometimes to the point of being impossible, to do everything yourself. While there are 24 hours in the day, you need at least two of them for R&R! If you are launching an online tech business, it’s all the more important to have a team in place to be there in your absence. It would be the ‘logical’ assumption to have a tech support team as a tech startup, so at a bare minimum, offer that service. It may be outsourced, if necessary, but do provide that team of experts who can answer questions and address the needs of your customers.
There are so many other things you may want to consider, but these tips will help you with the bare minimum of what it takes to launch a successful startup. Bear in mind that you may be one of 70,000+ startups but if you follow these actionable tips, your efforts will not be in vain. If you hit the ground running, you can cross the finish line first – and we promise – that’s our last cliché for the day!