As the technology hub of the United States, Silicon Valley is home to some of the world’s largest high-tech corporations and accounts for one-third of all the venture capital investment in the US. Named after the silicon chip manufacturers in the area, San Francisco Bay in Northern California is at the forefront of innovation. So, what can start-ups learn from this ecosystem which has fuelled scientific and technological success?
Collaborate to accelerate
Advanced technology and reliable software have become an integral part of business. The amount of high-tech ideas circulating is, undoubtedly, exciting with many brands making it big thanks to a successful collaboration. When Steve Wozniak created the first Apple computer back in 1976, he later joined forces with Steve Jobs, to launch Apple Computer Co. – with one of their first major orders being from a local retailer for $500 apiece. The pair slaved away in the garage of Steve Job’s former Silicon Valley home which has now been listed as one of the city’s most historic properties.
Keep your overheads low
Believe it or not, it is possible to run a company on a shoe-string budget. Need inspiration? Then take a lead out of Stanford graduates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, who launched their own company Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) from a 12-by-18-foot garage at the back of the house they were renting. With an initial investment of just $538, the team built their first product – an audio oscillator which attracted clients such as Walt Disney Productions. Today, this modest garage is a museum and is often referred to as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
Stay focused and committed
In order to make your business a success, it’s essential to stay focused and committed. While Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg moved to Silicon Valley to pursue his dreams and certainly made a global success of them, he admits that relocating to California isn’t the only option for those who want to make it big. Taking the stage at Y Combinator’s Startup School a few years ago for an interview with Y Combinator Partner Jessica Livingston, he stated:
“If I were starting now I would do things very differently. I didn’t know anything. In Silicon Valley, you get this feeling that you have to be out here. But it’s not the only place to be. If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston. [Silicon Valley] is a little short-term focused and that bothers me.” He continued: “There’s a culture out here where people don’t commit to doing things, I feel like a lot of companies built outside of Silicon Valley seem to be focused on a longer-term.”
Take things one step at a time
When running a start-up, it’s really important not to run before you can walk. In order to stay within budget and not blow your finances, you must take things one step at a time. Take Google, for instance. It is one of the biggest companies in the world but, like so many other top brands, it had humble origins, starting out in a garage which employees rented for $1700 a month. It was only when they were ready to expand and had a team of top professionals that Google relocated to an office with eight other employees.
Don’t give up on your dream
It’s easy to look at Silicon Valley success stories and think that the companies were destined to achieve great things. But, without hard work, dedication and commitment, those great ideas wouldn’t have come to fruition. An idea alone isn’t enough, however harsh that sounds.Starting a company is not easy, but with plenty of determination and forward planning, it can be achieved.