Have you got a brilliant idea for an app or a new online service? You’re probably wondering what to do next. How can you turn your idea into a successful tech company? It might seem obvious that you’ll need to develop your product first, but have you thought about what to do next? What’s the difference between a good and great tech company? The answer is in the details: staffing decisions, focus areas and a tolerance for risk all play a significant role. Have you thought about that?
Step One: Create your product
It’s easy enough to get caught up in the excitement of a new idea. When you feel like you’ve struck gold you want to act, immediately. In some cases, it’s right to act decisively. In most cases, it pays to spend some time translating your idea into a real product. Bring it to life and trial it. This process will reveal a lot of information about the product, how it really works and its potential use cases. You may discover it appeals to a different market or solves an unexpected problem. Once you have your product you can focus on building the company around it. The product should take much of your time and concentration in the beginning. Once you have the product you can pivot the majority of your attention to recruitment, customer service, marketing and the like.
Step Two: Choose where to focus your attention
Make sure you have a clear idea about what your business will focus on. Will you devote time and effort toward the product or the service? This decision will guide every move you make from here on. It will influence your hiring choices and where you invest your limited funds. It will also impact your client base and your messaging.
Step Three: Hire the right staff
Specifically, hire the staff you’ll need when you’re operating at capacity in 12 months’ time. There’s no denying that start up companies often work with limited budgets, but this can really constrain the growth of the company. If you hire a full complement of engineers and sales/marketing staff you will see far better results (better communication and consistent customer support), sooner. While their workload may be lighter in the earliest days, task them with other important work that will lay the foundation for success later on.
Step Four: Don’t hesitate – act
A plan is no use until it is put into action. Companies big and small are sometimes trapped by analysis paralysis. If your business is treading water because you’re too afraid to act on the information you have, you’re missing out. There will never be a time when you have the complete picture or total certainty. This is particularly relevant for the tech industry – things move quickly. Don’t act rashly, of course, but don’t let your business miss opportunities because of hesitation. Acting confidently is almost always better than freezing and going nowhere. Sometimes it’s ok to say yes to an opportunity and finalise the details of how you’ll deliver afterwards.
Step Five: Allow failure
The brilliant benefit of acting decisively is that you will almost inevitably fail, at least once. This is a benefit, because missteps, failures and mistakes all serve to show you something about your product or your business. They will highlight an error in your processes and provide an opportunity to improve. The failure may be internal or external, but both are valuable. Internal failures can be corrected promptly and commonly lead to better processes. Client-facing failures can certainly bruise the ego and the company reputation, but the way you handle the problem can end up being an endorsement. Tech companies are innovators – failures are expected along the way. If you allow failure to be an option, fear decreases. Bolder actions can be taken, hopefully leading to more learning and more profit.
Step Six: Stay true to the vision
Sometimes small tech start ups can fall victim to an insidious type of entrapment. If the company lands a single significant client, the focus can pivot completely to solely deliver to the customised needs of that company. It can consume focus and resources and take away from the original vision and goals of the company. If you secure a large contract invest commensurate resources to meet those needs, but don’t compromise your core. Maintain active marketing and client services for new and existing clients. Take on new staff if you must – just don’t lose sight of your original purpose.
Step Seven: Support matters
When tech companies do well, they often do it quickly. As the company expands the marketing team increases to keep up with the growth. This growth can sometimes create a vulnerability however, if the client support team doesn’t grow with them. Funnelling a growing customer base back to a low-capacity support team will lead to poor quality service, lack of continuity, delays and complaints. Don’t let this occur. Build your client support team as you build your outreach – don’t allow it to lag.
Step Eight: Don’t work in isolation
Tech companies should not work in isolation. It can be mutually beneficial to create partnerships with complementary companies. These partnerships can often create opportunities to scale both businesses in ways that are impossible alone. There may be a case for going it alone, but no business is an island. You can maintain your branding and position while working with others. The leg up may be beneficial to you both. These partnerships are made possible because each team brings something unique – another vote for staying true to your core vision.
About Mustard IT, your tech start up partner
Mustard IT provide the design, build, and installation of secure IT servers and networks, and provide value-driven, round-the-clock IT support for tech start ups, small and medium businesses. Our trusted team are experienced and able to explain complex issues to you in a language you’ll understand. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.