A successful technology start-up as well as growth happens only in a situation where there is a healthy marriage of strong business management and resources.
The primary objective is to identify high-potential business opportunities that are technology-incentive and ensure all the resources are well-organized. An attractive opportunity is one that has a valuable and technically feasible product, a large potential market, competitive advantage sustainability and also a proven business model. It can either be based on an incredible breakthrough in technology or even an advancement of an existing technology; and it can either create a totally new market or target an already existing market.
This requires the right vision, compelling strategies and most importantly perfect execution, which makes all the difference between a good company and a great company. A good leadership, putting together a good team to get it going and working towards achieving the goal can guide the venture to success. Good technology startups provide immense value to the users and bring huge returns to their creators and investors.
In a technology start-up, some of the founders should be technical people. There have been instances in several start-ups, where the founders had to even look for hackers to help them create their product as they did not have the required technical skills. In fact, it is said that technical people are more important than business people.
The main element of a startup is to create a product or provide a service that customers need, spending as little money as possible.
The three factors to be taken into consideration are:
• Who are the customers?
• What does the product/service deliver?
• How is the product/service better than the competitors?
Once the resources are in place, then it is time for a formal well-made business plan that details everything, right from the needs of the customers, the technological solution, the goals, raising capital for the venture, setting objectives and milestones as well as target markets etc. This plan also takes into consideration any unforeseen challenges that may lie ahead, rather than a perfect hurdle-less roadmap to success, such as a contingency plan for either cash or personnel. This gives a broad view of the future of the business and more importantly how successfully one can bring the company to see that visualized future.
Each and every successful technology start-up has started with a proper business model. It is nothing but a document detailing the company, how it aims at projecting itself to the customer, how it aims at being different from the others by offering valuable services. The owner should also be totally confident that there is plenty of need for what is being offered or if a new service or product is being offered, that people will readily accept it.
Looking at all the great successful start-ups, it is seen that they lay a lot of stress on working as a ‘team,” which helps in retaining people. Proper compensation and recognition along with creating a good work culture, where success is recognized and room for failure is given is important. This is where sound leadership comes in.
Transparency and lack hierarchy with every person having the right to make constructive criticism is the way to go. All the subordinates must feel free to advice and criticize any aspect of business, as long as it helps in advancing the goals.
Monetary flow is another vital point as it is essential for rapid growth. Having enough cash on hand but spending it wisely is the key, which gives the stability and flexibility required to face any eventualities that may arise. Cash also helps in putting together the best and qualified team, and this essential resource cannot be risked going into the “negative” even for the shortest while. With a good business plan and qualified founders at the helm, it is also possible to get businessmen to invest in the company, and these people are called “angel investors.”
Finally, no business can be successful if it is only done with a view of achieving personal gain alone. The success actually lies in making an impact on the customers and making a difference. It involves ethics and integrity. Customers should always have the confidence that they are getting best value for their money. It is not enough just perceiving value – they should actually get superior service. This helps in maintaining long-term customers who remain loyal as well as distinguishing oneself from the competition.
When people talk about successful technology start-ups, the first thing that comes to mind is Google. Google’s creators are billionaires and their idea was initially only to create a search engine that has better capabilities, such as indexing more of the web, using links to rank search results and provide clean simple web pages with ads that do not interrupt the user. They were determined to make a site that was easy to use. A few technical tricks were incorporated over a period of time and along with being one of the most trusted search engines, they make billions of dollars today.
There are a few other startups that have made a mark in the web community, such as Twitter, Stumble and Flickr.
Flickr does make for an intriguing case study where startups are concerned, with a whole lot of loyal users that it accumulated in a short time and that too without much of marketing spend. This is what makes it intriguing to many web entrepreneurs.
Although, Flickr did not have a product roadmap as such, they focused their limited resources totally on creating a product that helps in growing user base. All the features like easy blog integration with the ability to export to Flickr badges on websites, was developed and this is how almost 80% of the users found Flickr – through blogs of other Flickr users. Flickr also has an incentive scheme in place to users who promote them to friends. Another thing they did was to have a member of their team moderating at all times, to make people feel at home. They also assessed the market need for photo hosting on blogs and social networks, which meant their services made life easy for users by providing them something that helped them immensely.
To get ideas for a start up, eyes should be kept open to see what people are trying to do and do that better than them.
The success of a startup largely depends on hard working people who are willing to go to any extent to cater to the needs of their customers and would never give up, no matter what.