Starting a tech business is a dream for many. However, taking the plunge is never easy, especially when you consider the overheads, risk and amount of work it often takes to become profitable. This is why many people prefer to start the business alongside their job, and maintain their steady income.
There are lots of arguments in favour of starting your entrepreneurial journey by going one-leg-in. In this piece therefore, we will be looking at how you can start your tech business by the side.
Discover your motivation
This important aspect of business success is overlooked much of the time when people are thinking of building their business. You need to discover the reasons pushing you towards starting a new business even in the face of all the attendant challenges.
Are you looking to diversify your earnings? Do you want to achieve more financial security? Do you simply need a little more money? Are you looking to create a legacy? These are common motivations. Find yours and you will be able to start on the right footing.
On the other hand, if, for example, you are starting a business to build financial security for your family, the insecurity in the early days will be at odds with your motivational drive. You therefore need to understand the journey you will go through as you create your future.
Settle on a specific idea
If you are like most budding entrepreneurs, you probably have a hatful of ideas and you are not sure which one to focus on. A good tip here, and the easiest way to make the right decision, is to choose to go into the arena in which you are most knowledgeable.
Unless you want to run the risk of crashing and burning along the way, you need to have passion and background knowledge of the business area. Passion is vital, because it is what ensures your brain neural network is able to evolve and adapt to the demands of your new role as an entrepreneur.
There are lots of tech businesses you could research if you don’t have any ideas already. Some of the most popular include web design, launching online courses, blogging, remote services delivery, telecoms, tech import and gadget invention.
One mistake you should avoid at this stage, is taking up a business because someone told you it is a sure thing. You should be the final judge on what is sure for you and what isn’t. Be realistic about your strengths. If you are the kind of person that struggles with coming up with new ideas then either lern a new mind set or don’t go into a marketing or inventive space.
Find your target audience and primary market
A thorough understanding of your target market will help you work out what services are hottest in terms of demand, how your customers want to be marketed to, what approach works best to market your products to them, and so on. One important point you should keep in mind here is that most customers will embrace a service that helps them avoid a certain pain before they look at anything else; pain avoidance in terms of physical pain, psychological effort, emotional distress or wasted time is a powerful motivator.
Therefore, you should be able to readily communicate how your products or services solve particular problems. If the problem you are solving isn’t significant enough then the market won’t be big enough either.
Setup shop appropriately
The first step you need to take here is to setup a website and then determine if there is need for a conventional bricks and mortar storefront. For some of the business ideas mentioned above, you will be just fine operating solely online in the early days of your business. “The key however, is to find the right web hosting platform for your business to ensure you aren’t starting on the wrong footing” says Brendan at Umbrellar. “A blogging business could get away with starting with shared hosting but a web design business or a tech e-commerce business will not. They will need VPS or Dedicated Hosting.”
Create the brand
Regardless of what business you have chosen to succeed in, you can’t afford to take your brand casually. Your brand is the way customers can interpret how you and your products should be perceived. Don’t make the usual mistake for side businesses and pay too much attention on the product/service to the detriment of actively building how the brand looks, communicates and feels.
Work with the right suppliers
If your tech business is product-oriented, the onus lies on you to find the right suppliers. It is crucial. If you have done everything else correctly but can’t find where to source your products, you will not go far with your side business. Depending on what the products are, you can source them from manufacturers, suppliers or dropshippers. You can find sources offline or online but the online channels are usually the easiest.
Deploy diverse, unified marketing tactics
The success of your business hinges heavily on how you spread the word about it. To drive your revenue and grow your business, there are many options you could go with. A properly designed website and good SEO or PPC process is vital to spreading the word online, but you should equally be ready to embrace offline marketing channels. If you have something innovative to say or provide then make sure you build a strong social presence. Engage industry leaders, and invite them to interview for your blog. Create industry leading whitepapers and get people talking about the result on social media. The options are endless, but the focus should always be on quality.
Some of the most successful tech businesses in the world started from a garage, spare room, or from the dining room table. If you want to build a legacy it’s vital though that you have the vision to see the business as more than a “thing on the side”, and to treat it seriously from the start.