In this age of startups, tech-oriented businesses appear to go international from day one. Talent, for example, can be sourced from the world of freelance employees on job sites like Upwork, Elance, Guru, and many others like them.
“The ability to get a company up and running in today’s day and age is just so much easier than it was a decade ago,” said Kraig Swensrud, who founded Kieden, a site for online advertising in 2006, which he sold to Salesforce after a year. However, he didn’t just stop there; in 2013, he launched another successful venture, an online survey firm that he called GetFeedback.
When you read about startup success stories like his, it’s easy to believe that Swensrud has an edge on the rest of the world of entrepreneurs. Perhaps, like Mark Zuckerberg, he really gets programming and can innovate at will. However, Swensrud is the first to tell you that he is “not the one that actually puts their hands on the keyboard and writes code.”
So what’s the secret? Actually, there is none. His success is the result of noticing what the market needs and finding a way to fulfill it. If he does have a genius, it’s his ability to get things done, to create a viable infrastructure for his creative ideas through recruiting the right talent to do the heavy lifting.
A better question might be—can you do it, too? Can you spot an unfulfilled need in the marketplace and then cobble together an infrastructure to bring it to market?
While there are no rules on how to become an entrepreneur, here are 5 strategies that have worked well for many entrepreneurs keen on launching their own tech-based startup:
1. Spot an opportunity in the marketplace.
There is usually some idea that is similar to what you hope to do to be a good model. Perhaps, too, your idea need not be original to do well. McDonald’s may have dominated the fast food industry, but there was still plenty of room for Burger King, Wendy, and so on.
2. Find people to show you how.
Almost all successful people, especially in the space of technology entrepreneurship, had a mentor. In the rare cases that they didn’t, they usually had a close friend with whom to figure things out. Not only should you look for a mentor, but you should look for several.
Find people who are good at software engineering, product development, marketing and sales, and financial management. Naturally, you don’t have to find them all at once, and some may be paid advisors, but expert help and guidance can shave off years off your learning curve.
3. Create an infrastructure for your startup.
Once you have a clear idea of what it is you want to do and how to go about doing it, it’s time to develop a framework.
Here are some ideas on how to create a viable infrastructure:
· Start with basic software to get organized like a mail service provider; software for calendar, scheduling, and document sharing; and software to organize all your notes. Prefer something that allows you to sync to your mobile devices. You will find a lot of the apps you need on Google Apps for Work.
· Use software to handle international money transactions. If you hire a freelancer, you can pay them internationally; and when you sell services, customers will appreciate a way to automate the entire process of ordering. Look into systems, like a payment factory, that can help you manage your finances with worldwide transactions.
· Find a good hosting provider and a reliable content management system( CMS). The most popular appear to be WordPress for a static site and Joomla for one with more robust features. Both platforms offer plenty of plugins for almost everything you plan to do. They also have active communities who can help your resolve any technical issues that might frustrate you.
· Other things you will need include software for accounting, analytics, collaboration, and social media marketing.
4. Talk less, do more.
With so many moving parts, it’s easy to suffer from information overload. An idea is just an idea until you put it into motion. Many people talk a good game. At first blush, these ideas are impressive and it’s easy to expect great things from them.
However, when you meet them months or years later, they have usually moved onto yet another brilliant idea. Usually, just the thrill of coming up with new ideas appears to satisfy them. Others have fewer ideas, but act on them, and, as a result, change the world. So talk less, do more and get on with the business of being in business.
Throw out the idea of rugged individualism and competition. In a wired world, it makes more sense to focus on cooperation, collaboration, and joint ventures. Even during the height of the industrial age, the idea of a self-made man or woman was more of a myth than an actuality.
Associate with people online and offline. Online, there are meetup groups, incubator groups, and tech boot camps. Offline, there are industry associations and entrepreneurial organizations.
In an age of increasing globalization and automation, the how is not as difficult as coming up with a strong enough reason to launch your startup. Simon Sinek suggests that every great project starts with why.