Building A Tech Start-up The Right Way
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash
The blooming technology industry in the UK has taken on many forms over the past few decades. Transformations in travel, financial services, entertainment and consumer goods have formed part of the reason the UK’s tech industry has proven so resilient and boasts a $1 billion market valuation. For entrepreneurs, spotting opportunities can be a skill, even a differentiator between them and everyone else. Taking risks on ideas or ventures is never easy, but the technology industry is one of those areas that has demonstrated huge potential, while also being very competitive and fairly difficult to navigate. That’s why it’s vital if you’re opting to try and build a tech start-up that you do it the right way.
Setting a business up in the UK, whatever the industry, means having your registrations and cover set up early on. Registering with Companies House and HMRC is the first port of call for any small business, but it’s the tip of the iceberg. As a tech business, you’re going to be exposed to certain risks, some occupational (for example, carrying out physical technical work for clients on-site) or operational (the actual running of your business, including your engineers and developers). Even if your start-up is going to be mostly digital-based and the work your employees do will be in an office space, you’re still obligated to know your risks as an employer and ensure they work safely and without risk of injury.
A big issue in recent years for start-ups has been a culture of overwork or failing to provide health and safety protections. Linked to long hours of sitting or intense atmospheres can be personal injuries like back issues, or anxiety disorders. While these are valid concerns for employees, employers need to both understand the significance of personal injury claims and how they occur, as well as the obligations to provide a safe working environment to their staff. Don’t skimp on this kind of support. Talk to specialist solicitors and invest in risk assessments so you can provide a work environment that doesn’t unknowingly expose you to unnecessary risks.
Speak to seed funders
Tech start-ups are expensive things to run. Pretty much any business worth its salt needs a solid set of investors and the most important of those is typically the seed funders. Seed funding is your lifeblood early on, keeping the lights on while you figure out where you’re going and how to get there. The UK is full of great angel investors, seed funding groups and government schemes designed to help technology businesses get off the ground. Some of the best include Octopus Ventures, Angel Investor Network or the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund. As long as you have a minimum viable product, investors will want to hear your ideas. They are also the ones to help you bring them to life.
Go To Market
A strategy around how you launch and who you’re selling to might seem obvious but many technology businesses rise and fall because they start life by building great tech without knowing where to apply it, or if there’s even a market for it. Your go-to-market strategy helps guide you to where you want to go. Consultancies can be great at helping you build these initial plans, as the market research tools and experience they have make life a lot easier for busy founders who have plenty of other obligations to deal with. You stick to it, and you’ll find your business decisions feel like they’re following a path, rather than blindly taking chances as they arise.
Winning in technology is tough. Many try and most won’t make it, but the fundamentals mentioned here are the kinds of things the survivors – and those who have thrived into success – do in the early days to set a foundation. It’s on that foundation that technology businesses change the way we live our lives.