The Formula to Start Your Tech Business: Make Your Brand Known for Something

March 31, 2015

When it comes to starting a tech business, it’s not enough to have a great idea for a product or service. The end product may be outstanding but without the proper business to back it up, it will fail to make profit or get the recognition it deserves. Compare this to an analogy between McDonald’s and a fancy steakhouse. Because of its business model, the fast food giant obviously has more in terms of sales even though its food items are inferior to a steakhouse in terms of quality. In this case, it’s not just about the product – it’s also about the business.

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

According to Steve Blank, co-author of the book The Startup Owner’s Manual, “Having a technology idea is not the same as having a company,” Blank says. “There’s often a disconnect between engineers and scientists and what commerce and capitalism is about. These people are often the smartest but you don’t get paid for being the smartest in the world in a start-up. You get paid for being the one who put it together the right way.”

Dealing with Intense Competition

Putting it together the right way certainly becomes harder when you consider the level of competition you’ll be facing. Tech start-ups are hot right now and you’ll have to do everything right to get a heads up on the competition. The idea of dealing with competitors can be a drag especially when you’re still figuring out how to introduce your business to the industry. We’ve been led to believe that the chances of thriving in a business are greater if there is less competition.

But there’s research that tells us otherwise – competition in the early stages of business actually helps its prospects in long-term survival. Working in a challenging environment requires start-up businesses to have laser-like focus on customer service and satisfaction. They are also forced to lower costs in order to compete with the others. Smart managers need to use these challenges to their advantage in order to avoid the usual pitfalls of a young business.

Coming Up with a Unique Idea

According to this infographic, there are 23 million small businesses in America, and 543,000 more are started every month. Imagine the need for start-ups to come up with something unique to make them stand out. What it takes is a unique business model that has unique value proposition, diverse revenue streams, and tons of creativity.

It could be a platform for learning about just about anything, like the one Skillshare came up with. It could be like Handybook’s mobile app that can book on-demand home services like cleaning and repairs. Or it could be multiple revenue streams from content created by Popsugar, which covers beauty, fashion, fitness, and entertainment. These business models have changed the marketplace by using alternative approaches to revenue and creating great value that will benefit the seller and the customer.

Making Branding Work for You

Branding is like the luscious icing on your cake. It makes your product look appealing and has the capability to entice your customer to try it. Smart tech owners know that branding is a valuable business asset, equal to the quality of the product or service. Your brand is your reputation and your visibility. You have to make sure people talk good stuff about you even behind your back and that you are well-recognized in your target market.

A good brand should be associated with the ability to solve your customers’ problems. A company with a strong brand can easily win new customers, command higher fees, and retain the very best people in the business. In order to achieve this, you need to create an effective brand strategy that can improve your reputation, increase your relevance, and increase your visibility to your target market. Here are the top tips in developing a brand strategy that can elevate your start-up’s status:

Use content marketing

You need to create useful information that can prove useful to potential clients. You need to produce content that is more educational than promotional. The content marketing techniques that you will use should improve your start-up’s visibility, reputation, and relevance. When these are addressed, clients will recognize you as a reliable company that they can trust. If they have problems, you will the first name on their list. Content marketing is all about offering something of value to potential clients, which is a more effective way to win them compared to hard selling.

Establish strong social media presence

If you can name a business that isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, chances are you’re looking at a company that is doomed to fail sometime in the future. Since practically all businesses are using social media, you have to think of ways to establish a dominant presence. While face-to-face interaction with customers is still important, online approach can save you a lot of time and money in terms of product or service promotion. In this business landscape, a strong presence in social media is already a requirement, not just an option.

Try Crowdsourcing

Don’t underestimate the wisdom of crowds. Why do that when you can tap into their knowledge to come up with great ideas for your start-up? If you’ve hit a snag and unable to come up with something new or better, an outsider’s perspective may be just the thing you need. This is where crowdsourcing comes in. With thousands of creative freelancers around the world brimming with ideas, you’re sure to get a concept or two that you can develop into something groundbreaking. Ideas here are not free but the rates are definitely lower than the ones you’ll pay for non-freelance professionals.

Maintaining Your Unique Business Model

So you’ve come up with a business model that made your start-up a hit among customers. You also established a strong presence for your brand. Now you need to make sure to maintain the process that you’ve mastered. For a lot of managers, this is the hardest task of them all. Make sure to avoid the trap of getting bored. If keeping the business in place is a challenge for you as the owner of the business, create an excellent backup by hiring people who can do the job for you.

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