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There has never been a better time to build a software solution. There are many tools available for building websites and smartphone apps by dragging and dropping items onto a screen.
But when starting a tech startup, it’s a lot more complicated than having a nice website or smartphone app.
Now, I know that many readers potentially have amazing ideas stored in their minds that are dormant.
This article is for people who have an idea and want to make it happen.
My intention is to give you the five most important lessons I learned when building a tech startup to help you take the path of least resistance, make fewer mistakes, and most importantly, save money. money.
People said I would fail, but I ignored them all and here are my lessons.
Are you ready?
Lesson # 1: Make Sure You Fix a Problem
This lesson is essential to the mission. If you don’t fix a problem that’s painful enough that people pay you to fix it, then you’re wasting your time.
In my experience, we had a strong product and concept, but I felt it was a bit weak on the problem-solving side. When we fixed that problem and pivoted to solve a bigger problem, our growth path changed.
This is lesson number one for a reason. Why? Because if you solve a problem big enough for a large market, there will come a time when you need to raise capital.
When you present to investors, you will be judged on the problem you solve. Believe me when I say if you ask a minor issue that doesn’t make the investor lean in, you won’t close them.
But, if you come up with something that solves a big problem, investors will lean in and you will have their undivided attention. Because if your solution solves a problem for a large market and you can surround it with a revenue model, you are on your way to receiving capital from investors.
Solutions to big problems usually come from personal experience. Investors love this because it shows a pain point that you have been through and have decided to do something about it.
Remember, investors invest in people first and then in products.
Related: How Startups Can Attract the Right Kind of Investors
Lesson 2: Find a good developer
Ideas have to be turned into products and the path to a product is through programmers or developers.
Having a good developer at the start of your journey is very important. They bring your concept to life.
Don’t stress if you don’t know any developer, there are plenty of platforms where you can post a job vacancy or a requirement to connect with them.
I’ve found that the best developers to find for early stage concepts are full-stack developers. Full-stack developers can create the front-end (client side), what the client sees, and the back-end (server side), which no one sees but makes everything work.
Full-stack developers can help keep costs down and it’s always a good thing to consider giving your first lead developer (once you’re comfortable, of course) some equity in the business. .
Related: Want to Start a Great Business? Find the right people.
Lesson 3: Validate your hypothesis
Your hypothesis is a hypothesis (your solution). It should be tested to see if it is true or validated and prove that it fixes the problem you have identified.
The nice thing about the validation step is that you can dip your toe in water to check if you are on something big. Or at the very least, something that will make money.
The best way to do this is to create an MVP or a minimum viable product. Remember in lesson # 2 where I said you need to find a full-stack developer? This is where the power of this type of developer comes in.
An MVP is a version of your product that has just enough features to prove that your guess (hypothesis) is correct. Focus on just enough words, as this indicates not to build everything in your roadmap.
An MVP is designed to prove your hypothesis without having to spend on development costs. So the full-stack developer can create your front-end and back-end for you to prove your solution.
With our MVP, we built a small part of the solution and tested our hypothesis. The result was that 30,000 people signed up with our product overnight. This allowed us to build the product because the answer validated our concept.
This lesson is crucial to make sure you don’t spend too much money without proving that your concept will work. Do not skip this step.
Lesson 4: Team
You’ve got your full-stack developer, you’ve built your MVP and it’s promising, what now? Well, it’s time to start focusing on building your team.
There are many reasons to build a team and I suggest starting with a key advisor. This advisor must be influential in the space in which you play. For example, if you have a media technology startup, your target advisor might be a board member of a TV channel.
The reason you choose this type of advisor is to leverage their networks and contacts. The bottom line here is that their contacts can help you with distribution or customer growth.
In addition, having this type of advisor will help you when raising capital. If an investor sees this person on your team and they are well known in space, it will turn them on.
On top of that, great advisors attract other team members, so think long and hard about which advisors in your space can help you the most.
Lesson 5: Partnerships
The growth of your startup is therefore crucial. Whenever you present your startup to investors, you need to clearly show your distribution channels. You can’t sell a secret and investors are hyper focused on how you are going to get customers.
There are traditional distribution methods like paid marketing, but one distribution channel that we found amazing was the power of partnerships.
I have a question that I ask myself all the time, how can I do more with less effort? In other words, how can I connect with as many clients as possible with the least amount of effort or expense?
Welcome to partnerships. Partnerships are a powerful way to get distribution quickly and then generate revenue or show massive growth.
Think about it, if a particular business already has thousands of your potential customers, doesn’t it make sense to partner with them to get access to thousands of customers all at once?
If you were to grow organically to this level, it could take years and a lot of money to get there.
When formulating a partnership, it is ideal if your solution complements the product of the company you wish to partner with, as this will benefit both parties.
In conclusion, the start-up work is real and difficult. But I hope the lessons above can get you thinking about new ways to ensure your startup has the best chance for success.
Remember that there are people out there who need their problems resolved, so ignore the people who think you are crazy and go for it.
Related: 5 Things to Consider When Starting a Business