Before starting up a tech startup, there’s a few things that wannabe entrepreneurs should know. There’ll be sleepless nights, you’ll be off your head on coffee and Red Bull, and your friends will probably forget what you look like. It’ll hurt, but thankfully the tech startup path has been trodden a million times before. There are tried and tested remedies available to soothe familiar growing pains.
Even the most successful tech companies started from humble beginnings. Apple’s first prototype was built in Mr and Mrs Jobs’ garage after their son, Steve, sold his minivan to generate capital. With similar humility, Lee Byung-Chull founded Samsung in 1938 as a simple grocery store.
But, a humble beginning only makes things harder. The tech juggernaut hurtles at a frightening pace, chewing up and spitting out most that lie in its path. The sad truth is that 90% of startups fail… so good luck.
Starting a business is stressful, gruelling, and there are mountains to climb at every turn. The only thing to do is learn from the pain felt by those before you, cross your fingers, and pray that the pain isn’t as bad as they say it is.
The challenges we face in business must be understood in order to eventually be tamed.
Organisation and Structure: Teething Problems
There’s no such thing as a solo entrepreneur. You’d have to be a special kind of computer nerd, marketing buff, and everything expert to find success on your own. The first pain you will feel as a CEO is while trying to implement a team that is as professional, passionate, and dedicated as you are.
Meeting the demands of modern customers requires experience, staying devoted in the face of hard work requires desire, and developing a new software requires nous and knowhow. A team must have this delicate balance and be ready to drive a business to success.
With abundant resources, trustworthy friends, and unreserved networking skills, assembling a team alone is not a problem. Without these things, it becomes much more difficult.
Or does it? Hiring an outstaffing team is a fantastic way to control every aspect of the development, bypassing company teething pains completely. Companies such as Mobilunity provide manpower based on specific tech needs which you might not have exact access to: sourcing CVs from expansive networks and finding perfect matches based on skills, suitability, and core values.
Outstaffing costs less time and money because there’s no need to go through the torment of a costly, permanent hiring process. There’s less responsibility on a company’s shoulders because third parties choose candidates and hire replacements. Simply, there’s fewer risks. A company can implement the perfect team, devoted to developing software on time, whilst the brains behind the project can focus on other horizons.
Money: The Perpetual Throb
Unfortunately, money talks. Money talks and talks until we can’t sleep at night because we are thinking about it. Money’s throb never goes away, it only becomes more or less blunt with the peaks and troughs of success.
Every business needs a steady flow of funds, especially in the early stages. Funding is important for hiring top talent, upgrading technology, and launching effective marketing campaigns. Without a reliable funding source, startups don’t gain any traction in their markets and they sink. Fast.
The bad news is that we still haven’t found a magical money tree; the good news is that there are plenty of realistic funding avenues that entrepreneurs can take.
Crowdfunding is a fantastic way to gain capital quickly, especially if an idea has a lot of public appeal. Websites such as Kickstarter put great ideas on the pedestal they deserve. Alternatively, business loans from banks provide businesses with big fat cheques if they qualify.
If everything goes well from fundraising efforts, an owner might consider selling a stake. This generally only works when a business already has a firm foothold, it also means surrendering some precious profit to somebody else.
If things don’t go well, a last resort would be bootstrapping – where a CEO self-funds the business. This is risky. It’s like walking into a casino and putting everything you own, your spouse, your dog, and your grandma on black. If the ball lands on red and your big idea doesn’t take off, you’re left with nothing.
Cyber Security: A Sneaking Stabbing Pain
It’s 2020, and most businesses rely on the web to some extent. While this gives us convenience up to our armpits, minimum expenditure on expensive overheads, and the chance to 24/7 market ourselves directly into whoever we wants’ eyeballs… there are downsides.
There are some nasty people out there. Even worse, there are nasty computer buffs who want your personal data. For a tech business, cyber security should be a number one priority. I’ve never had a heart attack, but I imagine a cyber attack is fairly similar in terms of metaphorical pain.
The only way to avoid this pain is to anticipate it. A comprehensive firewall and antivirus software such as Norton Small Business is a good start, but it’s only going to get you so far. As your small business grows bigger, it is bound to be targeted by more advanced methods of cyberattack.
Having up-to-date passwords that are regularly changed is obviously essential. It’s key to train employees in the protocol surrounding the handling of sensitive customer information. Also, never forget to access that information through a secure, private connection.
In the future, when everybody has ignored me, and the hackers rain havoc on the technology businesses of this world, a cyber-insurance policy for small businesses can be bought from recognized providers like Direct Line. These services cut losses and offer financial protection, should things go wrong.
Pain can affect any part of a business. Many give up because they believe the early teething pains simply aren’t worth it. Most feel like they are drowning in a black hole of financial problems and cash flow issues. Some are unlucky enough to suffer a cyberattack and drop dead there and then.
But understand that no matter how immediate, how stressful, or how persistent a problem is… there’s always a remedy to make it better.