What You Should Know Before Launching a Tech Startup

There is no better time to launch a tech startup than now.

Technology is developing at an incredible rate, there are many problems yet to be solved with technology and there has never been as much access to mentorship, funding and information about how to start a business as there is today. If you came up with a great idea for a platform or an app and want to launch a business based on it, here are a few things you should know! 

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1. Growth Takes Time

Starting a business is a long process and it can take years before your business becomes sustainable. Don’t be fooled by the success stories you read, it is not because you have a great idea that your business will magically take off overnight. You need a great team to execute your vision, you need product-market fit and enough reach to get users to sign up/pay for your product or service early on. In some cases, slow and steady growth can actually be a good thing. The first startup killer you will avoid with slow growth is premature scaling. Slow and steady growth also allows you to set up an infrastructure which will withstand the future challenges your company may face.

 

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2. The Odds Are Against You

90% of start-ups will fail, that's a fact. The number one cause responsible for 42% of startup failures is that there is no market need for the product/service, make sure you’re doing your customer development! It is important to familiarise yourself with the causes of startup failure. Try not to make the same mistakes as failed startups. Check out getautopsy.io if you want to learn from failed startups, they conduct data analysis on why startups fail. Despite the odds being against you, don’t be discouraged as it doesn’t mean it is impossible for you to build a succesfull startup, it just means it’s not going to be easy!

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3. You Need a Solid Team

You can’t do it alone. Even with an amazing idea and a product that solves a problem, it will still be very difficult to establish a successful business without the right team. Rei Inamoto who is the CTO of the creative agency AKQA theorised that the perfect team is made up of a hipster, a hacker and a hustler. The hipster makes sure everything is trendy and looks great, the hacker builds the product and makes it work and the hustler sells it.

The keyword here is compatible skills. While you do need to share the same vision and mission, do not surround yourself with people who can do exactly the same things as you.

Make sure to look for people with skills you lack. If you’re not comfortable with tech and coding, get an experienced developer on board. If you’re not great at marketing and being social, make sure you work with someone who is outgoing and has experience in the field of marketing and sales. The perfect team is often considered the secret ingredient to a successful startup. It will make you grow faster, investors will be more willing to work with you as you will have more experience, and you will have the opportunity to focus on what you are good at and learn from the best instead of attempting to master an unfamiliar craft.

Make sure you are constantly learning from your users/customers and set realistic goals. Be constantly aware of where you are on your journey, this is key in ensuring that you don’t scale too fast. Your startup idea is likely to go through many iterations before it becomes the final idea, this is absolutely normal. Do not get discouraged by the failure statistics or even failure in general. Think of it as a learning opportunity, if you can deal with failure you are on the path to success. 

This article was written by Dominic Wolf

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"What you should know before launching a tech startup"  First published on Company Connecting June 2019

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