Tech start-up: how to make it successful

Can entrepreneurs draw lessons from the moon landing event 50 years ago and apply them to running a tech start-up and making it successful?

It could be argued that there hasn’t been a better time to be an entrepreneur in the tech industry. With entry barriers at an all-time low thanks to the prevalence and availability of good development tools and technology, the idea of running a tech start-up can seem too good to pass up.

As an entrepreneur, you see the opportunities and you know that many others see them too, leading to a crowded playing field. So what can you do to gain success in such a highly competitive industry? Before we jump straight into strategies, let’s pause for a second and talk about the moon. After all, we’re approaching the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on 20th July.

Back in the 1960s, the landing seemed far away, illogical and impossible – even in the weeks and months leading up to this historical event – and yet they did it.

They shot for the moon, and they did it

The astonishing achievement of the moon landing has inspired a term that many budding entrepreneurs are familiar with – ‘moonshot’, referring to grand projects that seem impossible to pull off but if successful, they can end up affecting entire industries, societies and even the entire world.

Moonshot sounds a lot like a start-up.

Expensive? Yup.

Difficult to achieve? You bet.

Seems impossible? Oh yeah.

So that means you shouldn’t do it, right? Absolutely not!

But you do need to have the ‘moonshot mentality’ possessed by these risk-takers, to make your tech start-up a success. So what is this moonshot mentality exactly? Let’s take a look:

1. A clear vision

In a field as crowded as the tech industry, it has never been more important for budding entrepreneurs to have a clear vision of how their new start-up is going to stand out among the competition.

It must be said that the vision can’t be some sort of ‘carrot and stick’ motivator – it has to be something tangible, something real.

Assuming you are developing the next app that will disrupt how traditional business is run, you should develop your app or your product to the best of your and your team’s abilities, and the app itself should actually have value and be able to solve real market needs.

To achieve this, your vision needs to be clear across this journey and you must also have solid commercial plans to see you through. From what you are going to develop, who is going to develop it, what purposes does it serve, to how much do you plan to make to sustain it and what is your business forecast, to name but a few.

When they landed on the moon, they didn’t get there by accident – they had a vision, and from that vision, they developed solid plans that could lead to achieving that vision. Your start-up should aim for the same.

2. Innovation

The moonshot mentality is a key driver of innovation, breakthroughs and new possibilities – irrespective of the limitations imposed by a lack of finance and hours. As aforementioned before, the moon landing was only made possible through innovation and doing something that no-one else had ever done.

You could also argue that innovation is a way for start-ups to minimise risk. A combination of outside-the-box thinking, examination of market needs, and having the right staff and tools in place can create a product that solves the problems of your potential customers – or even solves a problem they didn’t even realise they had. That’s what innovation can do.

And remember: innovation is not necessarily something new; it can also be a new approach to an old or established product.

3. Engagement is key

In this day and age, almost every company looks to create brand awareness and sell through social media. We want to argue this – your endgame maybe to sell a product or a service, but your goal should be to attract and engage your audience first. Once trust has been established between you and your audience, sales come naturally.

Engagement is also about connecting with key industry figures and influencers. An endorsement in the form of a retweet or a like from a highly influential tech expert or entrepreneur can be such a powerful way of getting the tech industry’s spotlight on you.

The bottom line here is that you need to deliver a strong marketing message to go along with a strong product or a service. It is simply not enough to do one or the other as a tech start-up in 2019; nor would it have been for NASA in 1969.

4. Protect your ideas

The ‘Space Race’, as comical as it sounds today, was a very serious rivalry between the United States and its Cold War rival, the Soviet Union. Both countries guarded their ideas and innovations fiercely and so should you with your ideas and products.

Much like these global superpowers, tech companies also have to take preventative measures to protect their interests from rival companies. When developing a product, discretion is often a necessity.

The threat of idea theft is, of course, always real and this can even come from people within your own company. Consultation with a good lawyer is worthwhile as it can ensure your start-up’s products and developments are as protected as they can be from external and internal threats.

Non-disclosure agreements, well-written employment contracts, background checks, training and bringing awareness of theft and fraud to everyone involved are some of the key measures you can put in place to mitigate the risk of idea or asset theft.

5. Location, location, location

For start-ups, interconnectivity with clients and fellow start-ups can be an important factor in success. One way to ensure this connectivity is by basing your start-up’s home operations in locations that are tech-friendly or where a tech industry has already been built up. For example, look for a location which already has excellent broadband access available inexpensively, and it also has a pool of talents working and living nearby which you can tap into.

The moon landings were all about carefully selected locations too – from where Apollo 11 launched to where it landed on the moon’s surface. It is said that the latter of which took two years to decide, hopefully, it won’t take you this long to decide on an office location.

It must be said that there are also tech start-ups that operate remotely – and with employees from all corners of the world contributing to the projects. If this is the route you choose to take, then you need to consider how you want to establish your company culture, workflow, equipment needs and communication, among others.

6. Shooting for the Moon? Then you need good accountancy

One final factor that determines the success of a start-up is how well it can manage its finances. It is all well and good with a grand vision to shoot for the moon, but your finances need to be well managed and maintained if you want to have any chance of even leaving the ground. Neil Armstrong knew that. After all, his dad was an auditor for the Ohio state government.

At Berley chartered accountants, we are specialist accountants for tech companies – the logical Spock to your bold Kirk. We are the reliable side-kicks who offer you sound advice so you remain on course and can be successful.

We provide tech start-ups with:

  • Regular updates on your company’s performance.
  • A proactive and adaptive approach to accounting processes for your tech start-up.
  • Solid advice on compliance and regulations.
  • A transparent, honest approach to what you’re paying for.

Our accountants love working with like-minded tech entrepreneurs who are not afraid to realise a dream. We will help your start-up manage the finances more effectively, ensuring you can spend more time on realising your vision.

Talk to us today by calling on 020 7636 9094 or via our contact us page. We offer a fixed monthly fee with no hidden charges.

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This post is intended to provide information of general interest about current business/ accounting issues. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.