If you’re passionate about working in technology, you may be looking for a way to start your own business.
Development skills are always in high demand, and a business that can deliver a strong tech solution or reliable service will thrive.
As you step into the tech industry, there are several factors to consider.
Choose the Right Tech Business Model
Technology impacts almost every part of modern life, so there are many opportunities to establish a tech business.
Most new startups fall into two categories: product-centered and service-centered.
The path you follow depends on your vision and skills.
A Product-Centered Tech Business
Some people get into development because they have an idea for a new application. They learn the skills to make their vision a reality and get into the industry.
If you love the challenge of creating and marketing your independent creation, a project-centered business is a strong choice.
A Service-Centered Tech Business
Some businesses need custom applications for their operations. A service-centered tech company takes orders from clients and develops products to meet their needs.
This model tends to benefit people who are more skilled than creative.
However, one major challenge of this type of business is meeting the expectations and deadlines of someone outside your organization.
Assemble a Strong Team
As you start your business, you might begin with just yourself as a developer.
However, as soon as you achieve a little success, you will quickly realize the need for bringing people with different skills than your own.
Trying to handle client relations and marketing while developing products will slow your progress.
Developing a Full-Spectrum Team
Most people who start a tech business want to spend their time focused on programming and development. However, the complexity of products today often requires multiple programmers to assemble different components.
The founding partners may still provide the central vision, but you will want a programming team with specialized skills such as:
- Frontend Development
- Backend Development
- API or Database Administration
- Systems Programming
As you grow, you will need employees with additional skills to handle the day-to-day operations in your company.
For instance, you want people who can take care of the taxes, talk to clients, and make certain the office has the supplies it needs.
While you can outsource some of these tasks, filling these roles in-house offers greater accountability and oversight.
Avoid Tech Company Employee Pitfalls
There are many industries where excellent performance leads to promotion. A high-performing team member might transition into a leadership role.
In the tech world, this is not always a successful move.
An excellent programmer might have the necessary skills to help train newer team members, but he or she may not have the ability to lead them.
You should aim to gain insight into your team members’ soft skills as you organize them.
Intentional conversations and observation can help you determine the leaders, dreamers, and grinders.
Each of these traits can benefit your business if you place them in the appropriate role.
Analyze the Competition
The tech world is ever-expanding. As it grows, there are going to be overlapping ideas.
Multiple companies may be working on solutions to the same problem.
You may think your idea is unique, only to discover that a competitor is already working on something similar.
Comparing yourself to the competition helps you define your place in the tech market. Let’s look at some issues you should ask yourself as you do your research.
Are You Offering Something Unique?
If you are fortunate, you may think of an idea for an application that addresses a problem in an untapped market.
At this point, you are ahead of the competition.
This gives you a little more time to test and improve your product before its formal launch.
Are You Offering Something Better?
Once an application is on the market, the competition will not be far behind.
If there is a tech solution similar to yours available, you want your product to offer a unique improvement to the user. Organizations invest in tech solutions that make their lives easier.
It might be a simple difference, like a friendlier user interface or a large-scale advantage of functionality or flexibility. The important thing is that it gives you a competitive edge.
Employ Best Practices for Development
Rapid growth in the tech industry has created different philosophies of development.
Some developers see different methodologies as either right or wrong. Other people see development modes, frameworks, and languages simply as tools in their kit.
However your tech business operates, you will have to decide on the most appropriate mode for you.
Software Development Building Blocks
Programmers can be fanatical about their favorite language, but not every language is well-suited to each project.
You will have to be aware of the best practices in your industry to make a suitable choice.
As you look at your project, you and your team must decide the best tools to use for its assembly.
Programming aspects to consider include:
- Backend and frontend frameworks
- Optimal programming languages
- Cloud-based or device-based operation
- Network connectivity
- System integration
In any case, you will have to take into account the specific requirements of your project, as well as the skills you have covered in your development team.
The Right Development Mode
The team has assembled. The building blocks have been chosen.
Now comes one of the most challenging parts of software development — the creative process itself.
The development team has to code the different parts of the application and get them to communicate smoothly.
They must do this work with looming deadlines and changing expectations. Finding the right development mode depends on the personality of your team and the needs of your client.
Traditionally, development is a linear process. A client comes with a need, and the team delivers a final product without much interaction in between.
Waterfall development follows this pattern. The team works on one piece of the program at a time and does not move forward until it reaches a development goal.
The benefit of this approach is that the finished product often needs fewer fixes. However, this mode limits the adaptability of the development team.
Iterative models such as Agile programming work well for larger projects with many parts.
In this mode, members of the developing team build, test, and improve pieces of the product throughout the process.
Clients often prefer an Agile-style mode because it allows for more communication with the developing team, giving them a clearer insight into what the finished product will look like.
Starting a tech business is more than writing code on a computer screen.
While a passion for technology may be where you start, soon you will discover that finding success entails increasing the efficiency of your organization and developing a strategy to meet client needs.
You will need a keen awareness of what you can offer to the market, a strong team that covers a wide range of skills and roles within the company, as well as a knowledge of the best development practices.
The latter will enable you to adopt the right development mode for each product or service you offer.
With the advice in this article, you will be positioned for success in your chosen industry.
—Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters