How to start a software company as a techie
Are you a software engineer, looking to start your own i.t business. You definitely need to watch this one first, before we dive in, consider subscribing if you’re new here, to get more guidance on its careers and i.t businesses I release a new video every Wednesday. And now let’s talk business! During my career in it, I’ve seen a number of tech founders who either screwed it or made it work.
And there is definitely one factor that defines where you will end up. I have a tech co-founder myself, and i absolutely love working with cot and co-founder, but first, I would like to give you a few other examples from my own experience and my own employment history, and you will notice one pattern that either helped me grow or destroyed them.
Situation 1 refers to the time when I’ve been working as an employee in an outsourcing vendor, and there was one boss in the company -and he was a tech guy. He defined everything that went on inside the company. He refused to delegate anything – like, simply anything, not even social media posts, not even the content of the website -there were people who did that, but they had to wait for his approval to move forward.
He’s been studying at MIT and had established some really useful acquaintances. So he’s been lucky to secure those customers and build a team around those customers and that’s how he runs his business for over a decade or about two decades. However, you should understand that luck has its end date as well.
At some stage, he did understand that as well, and he decided to start a sales department. He actually founded a sales department after a decade and a half of his running business to bring more customers and to find more customers to his business.
And yes, you just simply couldn’t work in such an environment, where a tech guy tries to understand how sales work and how marketing works. All the marketing materials that helped to attract customers sounded to him like a buzz talk. And he didn’t understand why we don’t include every single detail of the projects in the leaflets that we sent out to our customers. So when a tech guy tries to control the sales process, he definitely ruins it. He ended up losing80% of his company and he’s at the stage of closing his company.
Situation 2 refers to another boss of mine, who founded a product company. He is a tech guy and he created the first prototype himself: he coded-coded-coded and he brought his first prototype to life. At some stage, he attracted another tech co-founder and together they outlined the first MVP (minimum viable product) version of their product. However, what he did next was to bring in someone more strategic, more financially oriented person – that was his CFO. But that CFO also had some strategic thoughts. And after that, he attracted also some pr people, who helped him hit the market.
They actually did all the work for him: they uploaded that app on the stores, they tried to promote that app, and so on, and that’s when that app hit the market. And actually, he made this product successful just by attracting the right people to his team at the right stage. Then another stage came, when he fired his key players, his non-techie players: PR, marketing and salespeople, and also hr person, who brought the right talent to his team, and that’s when his company started to decrease in size.
If you want to learn more about how bringing only tech people to your team can ruin your startup -will ruin your startup – make sure to check out that video. Now, out of all those examples, you might already have noticed one pattern: if you are a pure tech guy, you need an unpurified biz dev person to your team. In other words, you need a non-tech co-founder. Someone who will stop you from thoughtless coding “coding-coding coding” by asking a simple question: where’s the money, dude? You need someone who will not be impressed by you, and someone who will not listen to you.
You need someone who will listen to the analytics, and the market, and the revenue. Now it relates to both service-based and product-based companies. In the first case, for the service-based companies, that non-tech co-founder will be responsible for bringing sales to a company, for finding new customers, for evaluating those customers fit for your company, for marketing research, for content, for social media strategy, for social media presence, for the strategy, for the finance part,
For the operations part so that you could focus on the actual development and delivering great results. In the second case, when you want to start a product company and bring a product to the market, that’s your go-to person when you want to do market research when you want to find your target audience, to define who your target audience is, whether this is actually something relatable, something that could be monetized. So this is your go-to person to do that for you – and also this person will responsible for maybe trying to find some alternative ways of development, to reduce the costs of the development.
And also that person might be the one who will seek investments – and by the way, if you are considering several types of how you can bring money to your business and where to find funds for your business -make sure to check out that video of mine, where i describe several sources of how you can find funds for your business and for your product. So your non-tech founder is a lifesaver of your life energy, of your time – precious time -and sometimes money.
This is your go-to person to save you the effort and the pain, and cheer up when things go wrong, and celebrate with you when things go right. The second tip i have for you as a techie who wants to start his business is – postcode. Don’t jump into coding right off the bat. First, evaluate your idea and try to find simple ways to do that -even as much as a survey sometimes might do -no need to write even a single line of code before you actually validate your idea, before you actually know for sure that this is something that a market needs and here is something people would wait and this is something people would pay for.
Single Strategy Guy
Now again, if you haven’t already, make sure to watch that episode, where I invite Vitaliy duke, a tech co-founder, where they had a beautiful product – I actually used it – but it wasn’t needed by the market. They had four tech co-founders in the team, and not one single product marketer or not one single strategy guy, who would tell them what to do. Now another tip I have for you as a tech founder is: grow your soft skills. I cannot underline the importance of this enough. Now, this is where my co-founder comes into play, and not only him, but also a lot of other tech guys I’ve met with during my career, and that is mind what you say.
Don’t spoil it all by blurting it all out and by saying everything you think about this particular customer. As much as one wrong word can ruin it all, so don’t spoil it all do blows it up by just saying the wrong things or by expressing yourself in the wrong way. To grow your soft skills.
Research in google how you can grow your soft skills, how you can answer in the best way – google! Everything is google below. And if you have a non-tech founder, you might want to check out with them, whether what you’re going to say is good enough. By the way, if you want to meet my co-founder, a data architect, make sure to check out that video of mine. Now, another two tips i have for you is: mind your financial stuff and mind your legal stuff. These two could be easily solved by bringing in a non-tech founder who will mind this thing, especially the financial part. Mind your expenses and mind your income.
I give a lot of useful information that already recorded, a lot of videos on how to run your i.t business – so make sure to check it out. And on the legal part, make sure that you have an agreement between you and your co-founder if you’re going to bring in your co-founder -so that no questions arise when it’s time to share your financial revenues.
And also make sure to mind your taxes and have all this paperwork, this disastrous paperwork – just mind that business, because you don’t want any trouble when things group, and then all of a sudden they might go down because you didn’t do some sort of paperwork. There is one thing not everybody understands, and that is: when you start a business, you cease to be an engineer. You are no more a tech guy, you’re a businessman. You should kill your inner engineer in order to make a place for the entrepreneur.
If you are not ready for that, a donut start engineer should die for an entrepreneur to be born, period. You should think in business terms from now on. Nobody cares how beautiful your code is unless you are speaking to another techy.
And to not think in business terms, and to not think about business – because you have a team to pay salaries for, they count on you, and you’re responsible for them. Because you have a business to run because you have company to mind, you have no right to think about yourself and how good you as a coder are.
I know an example, one real-life example when there were two techno-founders on the board, and when the time came, one of the tech founders took the role of a CEO, and another guy had to take part in the strategic vision of the company.
And he wanted to stay a simple coder. And he was fired by the board. so – kill your inner engineer, so that an entrepreneur is born. If you’re willing to learn more about i.t businesses, how to start them, how to run them, how to mind your financial part.