Starting a technology business is not difficult, but there are a lot of things to consider.
How to Start a Tech Business
Your Most Valuable Investment
- Your spouse
- Money is simple, a good relationship is not
Don’t Do It
- An Index Fund is a better bet…
- Are you enough of a failure to build a business?
- Entrepreneurs are such bad employees they are forced to make their own business to survive. (And half the time they want to fire themselves)
- Owners are responsible for more than the COOL stuff.
- Plumbing, Taxes, Ants, Firing Good People, Promoting Bad People
Have You Heard of “HOBBIES”
- Maybe you really just want to build a few websites and get earn some money for a nicer vacation…
- “Hobbies” are a concept from the olden days where people had a day job, and then on their off hours they would do things they found interesting
“Entrepreneur” is more than a Title…
- The people to get you to where you are going are not the ones that got you to where you are…
- Employers and Employees see the world differently and many times their views are incompatible.
- 20 hour days are not an exaggeration
- People NEVER SHUT UP ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
- Your loved ones will LIE to you
- “Passion” is a fire that burns bright, hot, and quickly out…
- Can You Iterate Till Dead
- Find a business you do when you are sick, depressed, tired, and just being cranky
- You ship a product not once, or twice, or a hundred times. You ship the product tens of thousands of times
- What overall lifestyle do you want?
- People you will deal with
- Your business should nourish you spiritually
- As some people can’t eat gluten, or dairy some entrepreneurs are not but to deal with certain aspects of business.
- Does prestige matter to you?
- Does money matter to you?
- Does a thankful handshake matter to you?
- AND… Can you pay for health insurance, rent, a vacation!!!
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
- Job funding is a great form of funding
- People you work with are valuable for product testing and bouncing ideas off of.
- Quitting you job is like graduating college. One minute you’re surrounded by like minded people all excited to take on the world, the next you’re alone in your apartment second guessing every thought.
Build a Workflow
- Customer Acquisition Process
- Fulfillment Process
Separate Bank Accounts
- Even if it’s not a “business account” have multiple checking accounts and different credit cards.
- Track Profit / Loss
- See Trends
- Track Sales Rep
- Figure Out What Numbers are Valuable to You
- Auto Import
Employee vs. Contractor
- Employees can be retasked
- Employees make standardization easier
- Contractors are set contracts
- Contractors can complete tasks as they see fit
- Naive Contractors can create bigger issues
- Taxes, Insurance, Cost of their own operations
- Find people that naturally do things the way you expect
- Your first employees are the most important
- Cheaper than IRS fines
- Workmans Comp
- HR Services
- Faster is More Expensive and Error Prone
- Do ALL of Your Pieces Scale?
- GOT PLAN?
- Do you really want to? REALLY???
Scaling to Death
- Client Acquisition Gets Expensive when Scaling
- Hiring/ Retention/ Quality Control are difficult while scaling
- Vendor issues become exponentially worse when scaling
- Do you have systems to track how business is doing?
- Do you have metrics and goals so you know if you’re winning or failing?
Choosing Business Type
- S Corp
- Non Profit
Type of Business
- Do a Trademark Search
- Domain Name
- Email Address with Domain Name
Point of Advertising
- Bring in Sales
- Brand Awareness
- Optical Illusion of Size
Knocking on Doors
- Cheap Advertising
- You Can Talk to Owners/ potential Customers
- You Get to Understand Your Environment Better
- Go to Happy Hours where business people hang out
- TALK to business owners you run into. Contractors/ Coffee Shop Owners/ etc
- Make RELATIONSHIPS!
- Business is not just about selling. It’s about renting office space, getting insurance, finding employees, etc.
Social Media Advertising
- Creating Business Accounts
- Bill Boards
- You need numbers to know how your business is operating
- PEOPLE LIE, numbers only fib a little…
Licensing / Taxes
- Research what your state needs
- Most things in tech are unregulated, but some items such as running low voltage cable may be.
- Sales tax is different State to State. Go to Comptroller’s website and see what you need to do.
- Talk to accountant about depreciation and fixed asset taxes
- General Liability
- Errors and Omissions
- Specialized Insurance
- Data Loss
Choosing a Fee Structure
- See what other vendors charge
- See what customers are willing to pay
- Hourly rates are about more than Hours at site
When To Become a “Real” Business
- Many new entrepreneurs are so focused on being “real” they forget to ship product…
- I AM NOT A LAWYER
- When your income makes a difference in your life you need to become “real”.
Don’t Over Think It
- YES… it really is this easy…
- Business is actually simple, don’t overthink it
KISS – Keep it simple!
- Chasing Every dollar makes you poorer
- Every product has a different workflow/ customer type
Beware of Macro Forces
- And then there was Covid…
- Started being a consultant in XP SP1 Era
- Started YouTube in 2009
- Started Silicon Dojo during Covid…
Be Careful of Listening to “Smart” People
- Steve Jobs was an ass…
- Gary Vaynerchuck has good advice, but are you the proper demographic
- Good advice should be good on the face of it.
- Are YOU their product?
- Distrust, Verify, Stay Suspicious