By: BairesDev, a leading Nearshore Outsourcing Software Development and IT company
Launching a tech startup is an exciting first step. There’s a lot involved in making your dream a reality — from planning to funding to outsourcing services. So, how do you do it all? Here’s our top advice for getting your tech startup off the ground.
7 steps for launching your tech startup
Founding a startup is an intricate process, and it’s impossible to cover every single step. Plus, each business is different, and the startup phase will have its own nuances for all entrepreneurs. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t similarities across the first steps of most startups. Below are some essentials to keep in mind for all new business founders and owners.
1. Gain knowledge about the tech industry
If you’re not a techie, that’s okay. Chances are you’ll be partnering with someone who is and/or are planning to outsource development. Still, you need to have a basic comfort and familiarity with the trends and in and outs of the tech landscape.
You’ll be speaking with investors, developers, and others so you must sound knowledgeable — as well as be able to understand what they’re telling you. Some ways to become more familiar with tech jargon, product development, and other aspects of this world include:
• Reading books and articles, particularly those that affect your niche.
• Speaking with developers, such as your business partners, friends in the field, or others in or outside your network. Using LinkedIn to find contacts can help.
• Asking your own developers questions about their work. This will help you learn what to look for in the case of outsourcing services
• Taking basic coding and other types of classes.
2. Solicit feedback
Are your ideas viable? Initially, many may seem like they are but don’t hold up in a competitive market. In order to get a better sense of what’s a “good” idea — versus what just sounds good — you should be constantly bouncing your thoughts off of others.
That doesn’t just include your developers or software outsourcing companies. You should also ask friends, family members, people you meet at parties, former colleagues — pretty much anyone you meet.
You should also solicit feedback from current and future customers about their wants and needs. Surveys are a good way to do this. If you can add a personal touch — via a phone call or email — all the better. This should be part of your market research plan.
This step is also helpful in building momentum for your tech company. By asking questions, you’re involving people in the process of getting your startup off the ground. They’ll become interested and tell their friends and networks, too, meaning the word will spread.
3. Find software developers
Developers are crucial to building your tech startup. Without them, you have no product to offer.
Slack, Skype, Github, Whatsapp, and even Google all chose to outsource development in the early stages — and many continue outsourcing services. This is often a cheaper and more viable alternative to hiring a full in-house team initially.
Whichever route you go, be sure to fully vet any prospective developers, whether you use software outsourcing models or on-site employees. That means checking references, looking at portfolios of previous, similar work, reviewing references and testimonials of past clients, and reading reviews if they’re available.
If you have the technical knowledge or a partner or employee who does, you may want to administer a test establishing that your prospective developers have the skills to complete your project.
4. Set goals, but check yourself
Of course, you need goals for your tech startup. They should be measurable and attainable — try the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) system.
But it’s also important to acknowledge that, given the volatile nature of the market and starting a business, you may not reach your goals, and that’s okay. For example, you will probably find that your timeframe for launching isn’t as realistic as you thought. In that case, you’ll need to adjust it giving the reality of the situation, but don’t beat yourself up for not meeting your objective.
5. Create a wishlist for your product
Whether you’re outsourcing services or using an in-house team, you’ll need to have clear specifications in mind for your product. Create a list of all the features that are must-haves and a separate one for nice-to-haves.
You should have a definitive idea of your target audience and what key qualities they need in a product. There may be some features that aren’t necessary for the beta version but can be implemented later. Make sure to inform your developers about the essential needs and differentiate them from the ones they can add later on. Your developers should, in turn, advise you on what’s feasible.
7. Network and market
Building a tech startup is similar to landing a job — both require you to commit to networking. In fact, it’s even more important in entrepreneurship, because you can get a job through simply applying, but you can’t create a business without having many, many contacts. Some ways to build your network include reaching out to former managers, colleagues, mentors, friends, and other acquaintances and attending industry events.
You also need to fund your startup. Venture capital is one source, but you should also be looking for other avenues, such as grants and competitions. Networking comes in handy here, too.
Once you have a viable idea, start marketing early. Do it in person and online through forums, Facebook groups, and other platforms. To correctly target your audience, find out what type of venues are prominent in their community, and spread your message through those channels. Often, there are niche platforms through which you can promote your product. If you have the contacts and/or the budget, ask well-known figures in those communities for endorsements.
Even if you outsource services, launching your startup takes a tremendous amount of skill and work. Still, this advice combined with sheer determination will help you bring your vision to fruition — and you’ll be getting your business off the ground in no time.