Approximately 20% of new businesses fail during their first 2 years, and 65% fail during their first 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This is discouraging news for entrepreneurs looking to launch the next great startup. Yet, even while there is no guarantee that a business will persist long into the future, leaders can take steps to ensure that their endeavors are set up for success. That starts with a solid technological infrastructure and stack. Here are 10 tech mistakes to steer clear of.
1. Trying to Go at It Alone
Even if you yourself are tech-savvy, it’s a definite mistake to attempt to venture into the world of startup business alone. While it’s true that some solo operations succeed, these are pretty rare. You need someone with tech acumen, along with business sense and other skills, in order to make it — particularly when you’re getting a startup off the ground for the first time.
2. Failing to Do Proper Market Research
You may think you have an amazing idea for a product, and it could very well be a great one — but it can also be one that someone else may have already thought of. It’s critical to perform market research to find out what consumers are looking for and want, what already exists, and how you can set yourself apart in a competitive landscape.
Market research combines marketing expertise, analytical skills, and technology expertise. You should hire a professional in order to conduct it — again, don’t try to do everything alone.
3. Hiring Full-Time Employees Immediately
You can only stretch your budget so far. If you’re operating with lean finances, as many startups are, it will often make more sense to hire part-time workers or freelancers, rather than immediately hire full-time employees. This certainly applies to the tech prowess at your organization — you can outsource the work to an outside software development firm, one with a good reputation that will do the labor at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.
4. Wasting Money on Cheap Technology
It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually more cost-effective to invest in high-end technology than cheaper alternatives. A low price point is attractive, especially when you’re working with a tight budget, but often, it could mean that the tools and systems aren’t of high quality and won’t stand the test of time.
On the other hand, purchasing high-quality technology may initially carry a higher price tag but your investment is more likely to pay off. Thus, you’ll actually save money in the long term.
5. Relying on the Technology to Do All the Work
Technology is a critical part of your infrastructure—but it’s not everything. The best tools and systems will augment your processes and procedures, making them more efficient, but they aren’t replacements. You still need to establish an operational infrastructure to ensure that your business flows smoothly. These business policies will create order and, in the best-case scenario, the technology you put in place will increase their efficacy.
6. Focusing Too Much on Tech and Not Enough on Other Skill Sets
Too many entrepreneurs believe that they only need to build their team with people with the best tech talent. That means they are ignoring other critical competencies and skill sets that are vital for creating a business from the ground up. The specific abilities your organization demands will vary by the nature of the business, but generally speaking, you’ll need marketing, sales, operations, finance, and project management specialists.
You should also look for soft skills in the professionals you hire, such as problem-solving, communication, collaboration, organization, and more.
7. Ignoring Product Design
You may have an excellent product or at least an excellent vision for one. You’re hopefully solving an important problem. Most likely, you’re using a technological foundation to do so. But your product is nothing without its appeal. And that’s not just limited to the visual design.
Today, user experience (UX) design has emerged as one of the most important aspects of product conceptualization. A UX designer focuses on understanding what users want, paying close attention to its look and feel to ensure that they have an optimal experience.
8. Skipping the QA Process
Your team members know what they’re doing. They have done their jobs effectively, and that means you’ll have a fantastic product to launch — right?
Not so fast. The entrepreneurs whose startups withstand the test of time know the importance of the quality assurance (QA) process. In the tech world, that means that QA specialists perform a multitude of rigorous tests, from performance to functionality, to ensure that the product is viable, usable, and as bug-free as possible. No, you can’t just task any professional with conducting this process — it must be someone equipped with the right skill set.
9. Not Considering Scalability
Most businesses, if they persist, ultimately grow. That’s most likely one of your main goals — to expand. And that means you, as a leader, must consider this from the beginning.
When you establish a technological infrastructure, it’s critical to think about scalability. Your programs and systems must be able to grow with you. As you choose your systems and programs, look at their features, paying attention to scalability aspects and what they will mean in terms of money, efficiency, and productivity for your team.
10. Launching Too Soon
You’re eager to reach market quickly. That’s only natural, given that you want to get your startup off the ground and establish a consumer base, not to mention stay ahead of the competition. But there is an inherent risk in launching your product too soon.
Your product needs to be viable before you launch it. It needs to have undergone rigorous testing, as we’ve touched on, and it must be able to withstand scrutiny. Remember that you’re not just introducing a new product — you’re establishing a brand, one you need to be trustworthy.
Your startup is nothing without sound technology, whether you’re creating a tech product or something else. Steer clear of these mistakes to ensure you don’t fall into the trap that too many small businesses do — and don’t become another statistic.