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How to Predict a High Tech Startup Success

Predicting the success of startups has always been difficult. IF founders know how they are going to fare in the coming years after a successful launch, there would not be failed startups. A lot of successful software entrepreneurs have given their advice and secrets to up and coming entrepreneurs. I have tries to aggregate some of this advice here. Enjoy:

1.Test the business viability of what you want to do
It is one thing to have a great idea for a product, or have sweet skills that would add a lot of value to potential clients. But it is quite another to fully build a product and—more importantly—make money on that product, or sustain and grow a services company over the long term. You need to sit down and honestly assess the financial viability of what you want to do. This involves asking some really hard questions: Who will buy your products or services, and why will they be compelled to? What is your unique value proposition? What kind of resources—people, infrastructure, and money—will building this company require? How much income will there be, and when will the income start flowing in? How long can you personally go without making any money? Are you willing to decrease your standard of living, if necessary, to make this work? If the numbers aren’t looking very promising in the short term, do you have a source for a loan or other type of cash infusion? How much of your time will making the company successful require? By Dirk Knemeyer of Digitalweb.

2. Hire Smart People
“Borrow brains. You aren’t smart enough to succeed on your own. Surround yourself with mentors, advisors, and winners. Read everything. Grab every idea you can get your hands on”. Andy Sernovitz. He is the author of “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking.

3. Product and Services
If your product/service/team is very tech-oriented, be sure to also hire a web/UI designer with marketing experience to make your product compelling and easy to use. Then allow this designer affect change by focusing at least half of engineering efforts on implementing necessary changes for improving user experience. Angie Chang. She is a co-founder of Women 2.0, a networking group of young women entrepreneurs located in the Silicon Valley. She is also a web and UI designer by trade. You can find her blog at http://thisgirlangie.suprglu.com

4. Focus
Big companies jump in with their brands to try to take market share from the leader while startups pioneer new categories and sell out for millions. The benefit of operating a niche startup is that everyone who visits the site will be looking exactly for what they provide. Niche is all about being on the narrow point of the wedge; that advantage, though, is ruined when a startup tries to be everything to everyone. The larger the market, the more specialized a company must become. In the struggle for life, no two startups can occupy the same position. If they try to do so, one company will drive the other to extinction. By Jawad Shuaib, the founder of Shuzak.com: The social network for geeks.
5. Create a checklist with deadlines and assignments
Once you have the outline set up the way you want it, assign each item to the team member best equipped to handle it. Then, set a deadline for each item. Set it up as a “checklist “so you can see what you have to do, when each item has to be done, and what’s already been done. A tip I hear quite often is to use a three-point method for keeping track of the items on your checklist: 1) leave the “Done” area blank if you have not begun to work on the item, 2) add a dot or a circle
in the “Done” area if that item is currently being worked on and 3) Convert the dot/circle to a check mark once the task has been completed. Curtiss Grymala from Ten-321 Enterprises.

6. Launch early, update often
Often times, I’ve seen startups never get off the ground because they never launched their product. It sounds stupid, I know, but these are brilliant people who focused so much on a full feature set that the whole thing caught fire before they got it out of the oven. Getting your product launched is just the beginning. Content updates, monetization, and advertising are the driving point of your business, most likely. With no product, how will you ever make money? To sum it up, concentrate on your most valuable features with the highest return, launch your product, and make frequent updates. (For more information on this topic, see the Rapid Release Model methodology.) James Thomas from WackyLabs.com

Most of these tips can be found at centernetworks

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