There are countless tech companies started every year, and very few of them actually succeed. Whether the goal of the start-up is to create a lasting business or to sell out to a larger corporation, the initial steps are the same. Everybody knows that you need a great idea, but this is just the start of the process.
Plenty of people have good ideas, but still fail because they do not know how (or have the skills) to build a team that can bring this good idea to reality. Successful tech start-up founder Hari Ravichandran believes that you need to secure funding, find people with the right mix of skills and manage them properly to be successful – and this is even before you start selling or finding clients (find out more about Hari’s expanding portfolio on Twitter).
What skills do you personally need?
You need to have a great idea to found a tech start-up, of course, as well as a strong knowledge of the industry you will be hoping to break into. If you are starting your own company, though, you probably already have these. The other major attribute you have to have to be successful is people skills.
You need to hire the right people for your team (which will include convincing them that your start-up is a good bet for their career) and then keep a group of highly motivated, highly skilled people working towards the same vision. To do this you need to be very good at reading people and managing a team.
Poor people management skills is the biggest killer for new businesses, because as the founder you have to spearhead your team’s efforts. You can try to find someone who can help with this, but at the end of the day your management skills have to be at least adequate or the company will fail. You will also struggle to find high quality candidates for your team when you hire if your people skills are poor.
If you are good with people and you have a useful idea then you are far more likely to succeed. Even if you don’t know the first thing about how to develop the software for your new product, you can hire someone to do it for you. Marketing, accounting and HR can similarly be outsourced – as long as you have the skills to find the right people to hire.
Building your team
If you have a great idea for a start up then you are probably involved in the industry you want to bring a new company into and have spotted a gap in the market. If you would have found a product or service useful the odds are that other people will too. You will, however, need other people to help bring your idea to life as well as provide other perspectives. Managing these people and ideas is a major hurdle for a lot of tech start-ups.
You will need to be on top of numerous different areas – or find people who you trust to handle them for you. You need to develop your product, of course, but you also need to work out a marketing plan, figure out who your prospective clients would be and contact them and find funding. This takes multiple different people, so you also have to manage the group and keep them aligned in their goals.
Just having a great idea does not make you a great developer, marketer, manager or accountant. You may well be very good at one of these, but no-one is good at all of them. Your first task, therefore, is to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and fill out the team with people who will balance them. You might also get people whose skills overlap with yours, simply because there isn’t enough time for you to do everything.
Pulling it all together
Once you’ve got all of the skills your start-up needs together in one team, you need to pull everyone together and get to work. Before you actually start developing your product, you will have to make sure that everyone understands what it is that you are trying to build as well as getting their input on ways to improve the product.
While you are building the software you will need to work with the developers to get it built (obviously) but also keep your financial and marketing people working on making sure you are ready to launch as soon as the product is ready. Getting everyone on the same timeline will be your main job, and you will also have to keep an eye on everyone to make sure they are doing the right thing.
Combining the right team with a great idea and good people skills makes your tech start-up far more likely to be successful. If you can put all this together then you are well on the way to having your product bought by a bigger company or growing your own business to be as large as you want it to be!