Your Professional Expertise Is Enough to Launch A Tech Startup
Do you feel you've got more potential than what your current job or profession has to offer? Do you feel you can make much more money if you were to use the knowledge you've gained over the past several years working in your industry?
The reason you're probably feeling this way is because you want to stand out, you want to earn up to your potential and you want to earn while you sleep, not only when you dress up and show up for work.
You're probably feeling this way because you see such tremendous potential for change in your industry and such poor products or services that are currently offered. You know you can do better. And there’s actually a path to help you build on your dreams.
I started out just like you a couple of decades ago working in the communications industry. I knew I could do so much more than simply contribute to the company I was working for. That inspired me to launch my EdTech venture in the communications industry.
I went on to launch a total of five tech startups during a career spanning two decades across different industry verticals. This led me to create a process that many of my clients have used successfully to launch their tech businesses. You can use your knowledge, whether you’re a doctor, finance or fitness professional, to build a tech business.
Start with the 'why'.
Simon Sinek, a leadership expert, who in his TED talk (the third most popular TED video of all time) puts across, “People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Why do some companies achieve things that completely exceed our expectations, defying all our assumptions for what's possible? Starting with why makes Apple more than just a computer company selling features.
As Sinek has found, having loyal customers is all about attracting the people who share your fundamental beliefs. Your why is the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you.
Dig deeper to find your why and this will help you in building the how your startup would fulfill that core belief and what does your startup need to do to fulfill that core belief.
Let’s take Uber as an example. Their mission statement reads "make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone." Why build Uber? Because it’s terrible to be stranded without easy access to reliable transportation.
The seed of the idea.
Ask yourself, what's the one thing that you'd change about your industry or the way you work with partners or your customers. What’s that one thing that bothers you or you feel inspired by to lead the change?
Now, we all have several ideas and oftentimes feel that the very same ideas are rudimentary or aren’t complex enough to build a business up on. Instead, take that idea, identify your potential customer and create a pitch deck. Next step? Start pitching to your potential customers and get the initial feedback.
Get to the demo quickly.
Often, the two biggest factors that stop people from starting their startup are fear of rejection and overthinking. The only way to overcome both are simply by building something.
With the pitches and the feedback that you’ve collated, you need to build the first version of your product. Don’t over think it and be obsessive about every tiny little detail before you launch. Your customers don’t care about those tiny details just yet.
Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn is famously quoted, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
What should the demo look like? It really depends on your industry and the competitive landscape. But, an easy way to think about it is what’s the core value that your product offers to your customer and building the product or service just around it. Leave the fluff for the next iteration.
Web-first or mobile-first?
Don’t make the mistake of launching your product on all of the platforms. There are enough customers (read: millions) to acquire on either platform so approach it rather strategically.
Think: what’s the platform that’s naturally suited to solve my customer’s problem? Uber couldn’t have been a website when its users need it on the go.
Secondly, what’s the platform that you feel is the best medium to reach out to your customers? Getting traction for a website vs a mobile app is vastly different.
Analyze and iterate.
At this stage, you’ve gotten enough qualitative feedback about your customers’ needs and how your product or service addresses that.
With all the feedback, you’ve got to ask yourself, can this be a big business? Is this sustainable? How scalable is this and does this business scale and grow non-linearly?
Your next iteration of the product or the service should build up on answers to these questions and the feedback you’ve received from your customers.