Have you always wanted to start a tech business but weren’t sure where to start? Perhaps you wonder what is the best kind of business to create in 2020. Fortunately, starting a new endeavor based on technology doesn’t always require extensive knowledge. You simply need a plan and determination to succeed.
Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Industry Outlook report indicates there are some real opportunities for growth in 2020. Around 51% of survey respondents indicated they plan to increase their artificial intelligence investments by at least 10%. Additionally, companies plan to boost spending in cloud computing, IT and everything as a service (XaaS) models.
How can you start a tech business even if you have no money? The good news is you don’t have to compete with Microsoft and Elon Musk. You just have to find the right niche and make smart decisions. You can do a lot, even with a tiny budget. Here are nine tips to get you started on your journey:
1. Study the Industry
Invest time looking at different types of tech businesses. Hone in on a few models you love and then scope out the competition. Are there any areas they aren’t currently serving where you could easily fill the gap? Take notes on when each organization started and what types of promotions they do. Map out their coverage to see if there are any underserved areas in your location. The more intel you gather on your competitors, the better you can gain an edge in the market.
2. Create Excellent UX
One way you can compete is by starting small and throwing all your focus and attention toward user experience (UX). Ensure users interacting with your website or app feel as though the process was smooth from start to finish. If your UX stands out from the competition, your tech business will likely develop a good reputation from the beginning. Don’t give potential customers a single reason to leave your site.
3. Find a Mentor
No one finds success without some help along the way. Seek out someone who has built a successful tech business and is willing to mentor you. This person isn’t your competition, and they don’t have to work in the tech sector. You can still learn a lot from any entrepreneur who has already navigated the business world. Finding a mentor helps you avoid the pitfalls inherent in any new endeavor.
4. Create a Business Plan
Business plans aren’t just for brick-and-mortar stores. No matter what type of tech business you run — even if it is 100% online — you need a solid plan. Write out everything from your marketing strategy to how you’ll fund your company throughout the first year. Do a deep-dive analysis into potential sales and include information about your competition.
A healthy marketing plan also prepares you for speaking to investors or banks for financing. And if you drift off the path in the first year, you can refer back to your plan like a blueprint.
5. Choose the Right Tools
You may sell tools to other businesses as part of your product offering, but your tech business needs the right equipment. Look for software that helps you get and stay organized. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are worth the expense. They let you stay on top of customer needs and build those long-term relationships necessary for success. Even the hosting company you choose for your website makes a big difference in how well received your information is.
6. Build and Test Your Product
Build and thoroughly test your product. If it’s a physical product, then you’re testing to make sure it delivers what you promise and has high-quality features. If you sell something that breaks the first time your customer uses it, your reputation will tank. If you offer digital goods, then hire testers to ensure there are no bugs. Customers need to know they can rely on your product to deliver consistently.
7. Survey Your Target Audience
One of the best ways to improve your tech business in the first year is to get feedback from your clients and potential customers. Once you have their contact information, send surveys asking what they’d like to see you do differently. You can also ask them to share what you’re already doing well. Keep surveys between five and 10 questions in length. Customer feedback is vital at all times, but particularly so in the first days of your new company.
8. Recruit the Best Employees
The people who work for you can make or break your new organization. You want the absolute best employees in the industry, but it seems near impossible to compete with big-name brands that have better benefits and higher salaries. However, you can exceed that by offering a robust family-like company culture.
You can also offer perks the big guys likely don’t provide, such as bringing your puppy to work. Think about the incentives that would encourage you to take a chance on a job at a smaller firm. Then, extend those to potential job candidates. You might be surprised by how many are willing to help you grow.
9. Sell Like Crazy
Learn to sell yourself as a company and as a person. If you’re shy about talking to people, take some courses to help you open up. Dale Carnegie offers vital training for business people. You may also take communication courses from a local college. Once you hit your comfort zone, work on a one-minute elevator pitch that sums up your product. When you meet a potential contact, sell them on your business idea.
Take the Leap
Starting any new tech business is nerve-wracking, but you only win when you try. If you have a passion for technical products, take your idea and run with it. The worst that can happen is that you’ll fail and be back where you started. However, you can always try again. You never know, you might be the next big company to hit the New York Stock Exchange. Once you get past the first year, you’ll likely hit your stride and do better than you ever dreamed.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks in the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dog, Bear.