The Techie’s View of An Entrepreneur
(or… use a least one ear to listen to the experienced voices around you)
You are an Entrepreneur with a fabulous idea. To make it happen requires enthusiasm (tick box) plus adequate finance plus a technical developer.
You carefully choose a techie who has proven expertise and with whom you can find a common language. Techie understands your product goals and provides you with approximate costs and timescales.
Remember, you have chosen an experienced technical developer so, when he gives you technical advice, it’s worth listening to. All too often, an enthusiastic entrepreneur doesn’t hear any ‘negatives’ and makes one or more of the following common errors.
1. Confusing the dream with reality
The dream is the future which needs to be put on hold. Now is the reality and your product must work now. Of course, future-proofing is important but if you don’t have a product now, it doesn’t have a future. Focus on the first 500 sales not the next five million. Worry about scaling up a little further down the line, once your product begins to prove that it has mass appeal.
2. Right now, no-one is interested in your new idea
Think about how difficult it was to get real backers and raise finance. No-one is interested in your idea until everyone is. At the moment, none of the ‘big guns’ are watching you to steal your idea. You do need a plan, though, because if, after your idea is developed, tested, launched and tried by the public, it goes viral, it will be because it’s actually rather good (if you follow advice in bullet 3).
3. Control your budget by controlling yourself
If something is too good to be true… Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can create a Rolls Royce quickly and cheaply. It’s expensive because the components have been tested individually and as part of the whole. Cheap and buggy is fine if you want to off-load a few items via a market stall and do a runner but, if you want to make long term money from a sustainable product (not to mention a good reputation), it requires a sensible investment of time to achieve quality.
So… don’t spend too little because it will cost you more in problem analysis, fixes and redevelopment when you eventually realise that it is more cost-effective to scrap the first development and start again. Also, try not to over-ride the time-scales that the experienced technical team have provided. Examples include “I need to demo the product next week” (the product that is still in development and scheduled for testing next week) and – most commonly – asking “Can we add this and tweak that?” whilst development is in full swing. Not only will the time-scale be extended but so will the costs.
4. Stop Panicking, Start Managing
Unless you have experience in managing projects, it is difficult to keep everybody happy all the time and it is easy to panic. Even if you have those skills, applying them to your own project is totally different from managing on behalf of your employer. A potential client may appear or an investor hassles you and you hassle the development team for early results. Everyone is disrupted and the project gets delayed.
5. Tech Support
Testing is a critical part of the development process but you will never cover every possible set of conditions: device, software version, IQ of user, etc. When problems are reported, they can’t always be replicated so the more detail, the better. For example “It’s not working” could be due to a number of factors so where do begin? Start with “I did [this] and [this] happened” and provide as much other relevant information as possible.
Understanding how other team members see the project – and you – will help you to manage them better.
#startups #entrepreneurship #businessgrowth #strategy | Miera Consulting