Creating a successful start up is not an easy deal. I believe there is hardly anyone who would refuse to get sound advice before doing that. Bellow you may find some quite reasonable and useful tips from LI professionals.
«1. Work with smart competent people: Find people who already did similar tasks successfully. You don’t have time to wait for your people to learn what to do from scratch. If you cannot afford to hire competent and smart guys, offer them company or profit shares. Do not overspend on anything!
2. Set milestones: Small-wins strategy works best for a start-up. Do not spend too much time to plan the next 3 years. Set SMART goals for the short term and move step by step. An initial prototype (alpha, beta etc.) is a must for you to attract investors or some early-adaptors’ interest which will lead you to critical mass. Your product does not have to be full-featured. Create the prototype (MVP: minimum viable product) as FAST as you can. Be quick and dirty.
3. Know & touch your potential customers’ “emotions”. Do not stress the “technical features” of your product or service. Show them “THE BENEFIT” and try to know how this benefit will make them FEEL. Do not forget: Your brand is NOT a product, but a feeling they feel about you.»
«1. Joint venture – If you are not sure where to start, start business by partnership/collaboration with other company. Learn and grow from them.
2. Creating Brand – Starting up is one thing and sustaining the IT business is another. Do some market research and prepare a case study on what product or IT service you are targeting. Streamline your Business goals & mission for short and long term perspective and work on it.
3. Hiring Smart people to work with – No need to hire many people, pick up couple of smart guys if you have to pay more also.»
IBM Software Labs.
«1. Incorporate. – Starting a company means working for yourself. If you are paying your own wages, you need to pay your own Social Security tax. By incorporating, you can pay yourself a good wage and the remainder of income is taxed differently. This saves you money and gives you more to invest in the business.
2. Contracts – Make sure you have proper contracts set up for the transactions with your customers or clients. This is really important as it helps to clear up any ambiguities that can cause you serious problems.
3. Help – You will want an accountant to make sure you are properly filing taxes and to help you find all possible deductions, etc. There can be a tendency to want to do this on your own, but if you are engaged in a viable IT business, you will be making more than enough to pay an accountant to file quarterly taxes and make recommendations. Also, find a lawyer to review and help you get going with your first contracts. Again, these people charge a premium, but are only needed for several hours here and there. The benefits you get from them far outweigh the cost.»
Senior Software Engineer/Consultant
«1. Know what you’re letting yourself in for. If you don’t have the money to support yourself independently for three years without an income, don’t start. If you’ve never worked at a startup or don’t know anyone who’s worked at a startup, don’t start one yourself. Do an apprenticeship instead and join a startup run by people who’ve done it and succeeded already. Learn from them.
2. Create a sound business plan and stick to it. 99.9% of all customers are not buying technology or features. Your future customers are buying something they think will add value to their lives. Develop a realistic business plan showing who you will be targeting and how you will get them to invest in your products rather than someone else’s.
3. Set up benchmark goals and get out if you’re not meeting them. Don’t drag the process out longer than it has any human reason to still be running. If you can’t get the thing to work right, get out. If you can’t get anyone (and I mean anyone, including alternative markets and outliers) interested in actually writing checks, get out.»
Maybe you have your own formula for success? Please, share it with us.