Startups have exploded in popularity over the last ten years. They are more popular than ever. This is exciting because more businesses able to support themselves and nurture their innovative ideas not only leads to more competition and options for us as a consumer but also allows you the potential of bringing your great idea to the fold if you’re so inclined.
The most numerous of startup specializations operating today are in the tech sphere. It’s not hard to see why. Digital space, while somewhat costly to set up and maintain, allows for near-limitless experimentation, design iterations and development as it all occurs digitally. It’s not as if a company needs to refine several drafts of a physical tangible product, so as long as established coders are on the force, there are many options available.
On top of this, willing investors often comb the tech scene in order to find the next big thing, looking to pounce on great ideas from the get-go.
You might find yourself interested in crafting something like this. But if you do fancy building your own tech startup, consider the following both cautionary and encouraging advice:
Keep It Tight
It’s important to keep the team tight from the offset.
Most startups do not develop as an intentional process. They are often the result of two students who feel they could make something excellent together. That means experimenting, working in your free time, and trying to find something of value before anyone else does.
Of course, you can do this with a friend or two, because neither of you is expecting to be paid. It’s a love for the creative expression and personal development that often bolsters the early days of a startup, and they can be an exciting time.
It sounds strange, but perhaps refraining from calling yourself a startup in the first months or even year could help you take a healthier attitude to whatever project this is, and to not burn your day job or study capacity.
Work with people who compliment your strengths, and they yours. Work with those who are reliable. Ideally, work with those you are friendly with. Do not look to the future in terms of employment, outsourcing, or a range of other methods that bring new people in. The ship won’t be stable enough for that kind of cargo. Instead, keep it tight, streamlined, focused and dedicated. This can help you make it through the early days with aplomb.
Educate Yourself Fully
Educate yourself fully. It’s important to have the knowledge base required for providing excellence to that you’re trying to develop.
Startups neither have a large infrastructure, a reputation, a development schedule or any other form of expectation placed upon them. This can be freeing, but it also means you have to prove yourself. When your only asset is the creativity and lateral thinking you might bring to the process, ensure that nothing gets in that way.
This means finishing your studies, no matter what idea has hit you like a thunderbolt and has filled you with inspiration from the muses up on high. You need the practical understanding, practiced creativity and experience with deadlines to ensure any kind of positive working effort on your part. Finishing your studies could help you with a plethora of early issues you really didn’t need to experience.
Also, don’t be afraid to further educate yourself. A startup likely has little in terms of overheads and can be suspended temporarily at will. This, of course, refers to the early days, because if you’ve taken on the funding of an investor, it’s another story entirely. However, if you haven’t made such a bold decision yet, you have time to further refine yourself and make you and your future efforts even more capable.
When balancing efforts towards a startup, it can be important to study conveniently. An online Electrical and Computer Engineering degree might just give you the results you’re looking for. Be sure to browse, and ensure that your further efforts have some sort of relevance to your plans.
Develop A Streamlined Process
Developing a streamlined process to your working efforts can help you overcome the ‘hangout club’ mentality that often sits like a cloud of fog over your general working efforts. It’s not uncommon for this to happen, nor is it a bad thing, but it can be harmful to progress.
Of course, if you can’t enjoy working at your startup, you likely won’t last long. Perhaps you will work odd hours, eat pizza at all hours of the day, or have one of your city’s most impressive collection of ramen and beer.
However, when it comes to working, it’s important to stay dedicated. Conform to a set agenda of discussing ideas, drawing up plans, iterating, coding or developing, refining, analysis, and QA. You can ensure that the procession of your working steps like this might take a different life depending on which product or service you’re working on.
It could take some time, but finding your working groove can help you improve your efficiency. After all, when your studies end, you will want to start monetizing your startup. This means having the infrastructure in place to deem an investment reliable.
A Humble Office Space
It’s essential to keep your overheads low as a startup. Thankfully, you can do this, because it’s rare you’ll even have one employee who isn’t some sort of founder. Humble office space is important to steward.
Perhaps you’ll choose a garage in your detached condo, or perhaps Johnny has a spare room his parents say you can use. Perhaps, for now, you’re using the scope of your rented university apartment or dorm room. This is all fine. But what’s not fine is the potential inappropriate handling of your safety.
A note about fire safety:
Tech startups are notorious for an overabundance of computing equipment. That’s to be expected. But if plug sockets are overused, fire safety isn’t taken into account, and the place isn’t regularly cleaned and maintained, then the fire hazard goes way up.
Ensure that no matter how humble or relaxing this working capacity is for you and your colleagues, that you pay solid attention to the safety of the space, and treat it as if it is your office. After all, if you’re not too big for your boots starting out, how are you ever going to try on bigger ones?
Your Online Branding
Your online branding is important when it comes to marketing yourself. This is where you can have a little creative fun. Developing your online website is something that comes naturally to those interested in tech.
Consider what the name of your startup will be, how you might differentiate yourself from those on the market if you’re going faceless or wish to all be mascots for your brand. Develop the most professional website you can, go through logo iterations, and keep this fluid and dynamic as you start to get a good sense of what your identity is.
You might not be utilizing this online branding to sell products, but simply making your presence known and getting into the mindset of being a real operation can be extremely healthy for a number of reasons, because getting into the professional mindset can often help your professional candor.
Beware The Shark Tank
While it might seem like an absolute dream to have anyone with money sniff around your startup, you need to beware. In some places, only competent and well-meaning investors are swimming in the waters, but in tech-hub locations such as Silicon Valley, there are sharks everywhere. If they smell blood in the water, they will pounce.
This means doing your best not to be overly impressed when approached with an offer. Read the small print always. Factor in short term gain vs. long term unease. Selling a percentage of your startup and tying yourself to an unreasonable development deadline procession might simply leave you feeling a little dead in the water, and as though you’re being constricted.
Try and stand on your own two feet, and present where ready. Compare yourself to others on the market, but don’t gauge yourself by their success. Be confident and learn presentation skills, and thoroughly vet any investor who hopes to come in.
This can help you defend your little slice of value in the world, and can help prevent you from being taken advantage of, which is, unfortunately, a sad reality in many tech scenes of today.
Enjoying yourself is absolutely essential to running a business well, so you can be sure that a startup, which requires many hours of personal sacrifice, requires this in spades. If it feels laborious and deadening, simply don’t proceed.
Don’t try and sell your startup until it feels right. Don’t bring people in just because you can, bring them in because you want them and their skills around. If you do this, the process will be much easier from day one.
With these tips, you’re sure to build your own tech startup correctly. We wish you every success.