Launch Your Tech Startup

Step 1: Understand your business idea
Building your own technology product startup needs a lot of groundwork and belief that your solution offers something that no one has ever provided. If you have a tech product idea, the first thing to do is a thorough market study to understand what kind of products currently exist that resolve the pain point you are also targeting. Ask yourself questions like:
  • How is your product going to be different from others?
  • Why will you choose this product over others, if you are the customer?
  • How much are you willing to pay for this solution if you are a customer?
Answering these questions, backed by market research, will help you reinstate the faith you have in your idea. Also, remember that at this stage of entrepreneurship, you will find many who would say that the idea won’t work. Do not let that pull down your spirits. Look at your business idea objectively, evaluate it, rework on it and believe in it.
Step 2: Open up to reviews from mentors
Now that you have clarity on the business idea, the next step is reach out to mentors and advisors for perspectives on areas ranging from:
  • Reviewing your business plan
  • Discussing your market strategy
  • How you will go about selling your product
  • Managing the financial bit of the business
  • The right way to pitch to customers and investors
This is important. Though you may have a brilliant business idea, you may be exposed to the ground realities of running a business day in and day out.
Many a times, as startups open up to advice from mentors, they end up ‘pivoting’. This means that though they might end up deciding upon a tech product idea which is a little or sometimes a lot different from what they started off with in. This is possible only because they look at advices and constructive criticism objectively.
Step 3: Attend startup event and find mentors
The next logical step is to find the right mentor. Unlike in the past, today there are a bunch of startup accelerators, incubators and mentors in India who are out there, happy to help early stage entrepreneurs.
First, zero in on some key startup events happening in India, register yourself and attend them. Talk to peers there to get attuned to what mentorship feels like.
Network with mentors and do not shy away from sharing your business idea with them. Many technopreneurs feel that talking about their business idea might lead to it being leaked. So they often keep it under wraps getting trapped in the self-evaluation cycle. My advice will be that the more you talk to mentors, the more would you be able to nurture your idea and build your business plan.
Step 4: Funding
Now that you have your business plan in place, the next question is that of funding. Since you are an early stage startup, it is best to self-fund it. Save money to build your capital and if you can, ask your friends and relatives to pitch in. Once you kick-start your business with the bare minimal and start getting customers, you can prepare for pitching to investors. I started off with self-funding for Nanobi Data and Analytics and our first external investment (to this date) came from our own customer - Firstsource.
Step 5: Building a team
People in the startup team can actually make or break it. While you are convinced about your passion for the product, you should evaluate if the people who are being hired are also equally thrilled by the product. They are going to be your interface with the customers and their belief in the product should be contagious.
Also, startup cannot be a one-man army. You would need to build a team that has a set of unique skills that complement each other.
Step 6: Creating your technology product
This is the stage when you actually start hands-on with building the product right from the scratch. This might sound simple but is not a simple one-year exercise. You might be looking a multi-year effort of
  • Building the product
  • Beta testing it with a friendly customer
  • Getting customer feedback, understanding what value they see in it, as opposed to what you saw in it
  • Working in bridging the gaps and preparing the final product
  • Launching it in the market with a solid product selling and marketing strategy in place
  • Added to this, there are the unforeseen challenges which you might not be expecting on a regular day at work. Working on all this requires lot of patience and persistence. There might be trying times on the journey of tech entrepreneurship, but the key is to never give up and keep focusing on the next milestone to be achieved.