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Building a successful tech startup - is there a secret formula?

Mervyn Graham

In the world of startups on average 10% fail in the first year. There are no guarantees that all tech startups will be successful or the next unicorn, but, there is a formula or more like a combination of strategies, principles and attributes that can be used to improve the chances of building a successful tech startup. 

Here is a list of the key things a tech startup should have and do:- 

Vision and passion

Behind every tech startup, there is a visionary who's passionate about solving a challenge or addressing a need in the market. The passion will ultimately fuel the determination, commitment and resilience needed, as founders will face many challenges in the startup journey. 

Research the market and determine product-market fit

Just because you have the vision and passion does not mean that the product will work, so before diving straight into development, it is crucial to thoroughly research your target market. Research your potential customers’ pain points, requirements and preferences and compare them to your product idea. Use a combination of desk and field research such as surveys, market and competitor analysis and interviews to determine the feasibility of your idea. A solid product-market fit and a good value proposition will provide a strong foundation for your tech startup.

Build an MVP and gain feedback

Rather than start with developing the complete product, build a prototype or MVPs (minimum viable product). It is the bare minimum version of the product with only the essential features. Use it as a proof of concept and to further test and validate the idea with the intended audience.

Once feedback has been collected, you can use it to fine-tune the product and make the necessary iterations before it moves to the next stage of development or worst-case scenario go back to the drawing board (at least you know early). During the feedback process, you may even get ideas for additional functionality to add to the product roadmap.

Focus on product development

After the MVP stage, where the SaaS product has been iterated based on feedback, invest time and effort in creating a product that stands out - focus on quality, usability and innovation. Adopt an agile approach, where the team would work on the product in small but consumable increments or sprints. This allows more opportunities for testing and feedback, and changes can be done quickly compared to the waterfall software development method. 

Financial management

Like all businesses financial management is crucial but effective financial management is even more critical for your startup's survival - as often, a little will need to go a long way. Keep a close eye on your budget, cash flow, and expenses. When it comes to seeking funding, it's all about timing - do it when necessary, but do so strategically, and ensure that your business model is sustainable.

successful tech startup

Networking and partnerships

As they say, ‘people buy from people’, build a network, join startup venture builders, incubators or accelerators and seek to grow your network and learn from it. The connections you make may not be your end customers, but by building a network where you can seek mentorship or advice from industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs can only be advantageous. Plus, partnerships and collaborations can open doors to new opportunities.

Work on a business plan

Similar to a product roadmap where you map out the stages of the product, create a business plan to set out the stages of starting and managing it. In the startup world, yes, things are fast-moving and may change, but having a plan and set objectives in place will give focus, giving a strategic direction so it helps prevent decision-making on impulse. A business plan will also help attract investors and team members because it will serve as a communication tool for setting out the vision, plan and projections.

Build a collaborative founding team

No tech startup can succeed on the shoulders of one person alone, so time should be taken to build a strong founding team. Initially, just a minimal number of people to get the tech startup idea off the ground and validated. Each member should be able to contribute in one way or another towards the goal. Whether you are forming a founding team or looking to grow the team at the later stages of the startup process, always surround yourself with a diverse and talented team that shares your vision and complements your skills. Hiring people with the right expertise in areas like engineering, design, marketing, and sales can be the difference between success and failure.

Is there a winning formula?

While there may not be a one-size-fits-all formula for building a successful tech startup,  there are actions and milestones that can significantly increase your chances of success. The entrepreneur journey is full of challenges and uncertainties, but with passion, dedication, and the right approach, you can turn your digital product idea into a reality.

Zoosh are specialists in venture building. If you have a tech startup idea and would like to validate, build your MVP, or scale your tech business, contact us today to learn more about our services.