Big layoffs have been happening in the tech industry, and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve been impacted.
You might even already have an entrepreneurial spirit. You probably already have an idea, you have a hybrid work balance, and you know how to get complex, technical ideas into concise and usable platforms.
As you plan your next steps, imagine what could be. Start small and build from there. You are not alone, many are starting over — right now. This does not mean not applying for other positions. However, given the state of big tech in early 2023, new tech job openings are becoming scarce. Similar to other economic downturns, this may be the best time to explore your entrepreneurial options.
Create a blueprint
What is the core of the idea (or ideas) that you have? While working in tech, there has like been a business idea or two that have crossed your mind. What problem does it solve, what would be involved to implement it, and how could it be done with potentially little to no investment backing or slow ramp-up?
Start by visualizing how the idea could be refined and improved and what will be next to help put your strategy together. Additionally, start researching if this idea already exists and if another business is already acting on it. If so, how will your service or offering stand out? While many startups will be in stealth mode, see what is already public and how that may impact your plans.
2023 will be a year of more new ideas and innovation than ever before, partly due to the increasing number of former tech employees doing precisely the same thing that you are. While the space may be crowded, you may be the only one with your particular idea or a willingness to put effort into the concept.
After such a massive change in your life, it is essential to take time for yourself and reflect on what you want and need moving forward. Consider what would bring you the most satisfaction in your next job — whether that’s money, meaning or something else entirely.
Understand what strategy is needed
Even if you have experience in the tech industry, you still need to have a strategy to pursue your idea. No, the strategy does not start with how to get venture capital or how to create a big exit.
Start with a minimum viable product. Before determining a scaling strategy, first determine a sales strategy. How many people would pay to use the service or product you are developing? What is a realistic customer acquisition cost?
Long-range planning (LRP) must begin with a detailed analysis of feasibility, structure and available resources, combined with realistic expectations based on current external conditions. The reality is that building a winning strategy will require more patience than in the past. Without access to capital investment to facilitate long-term projects into fruition, it necessitates a well-crafted roadmap making optimal use of the resources available.
You must understand how each move affects the next and plan for contingencies. Creating a successful company in times like these requires intense focus and foresight to ensure every essential element is intact. Fortunately, by implementing an effective LRP process, the organization can maximize potential success while still riding out turbulent financial waters.
Bringing in a trusted brand strategy expert to your team is not something to take lightly — it’s a critical step to ensure the success of your innovation. A strategic and well-thought-out approach to building, driving and scaling the brand can mean a ground-breaking triumph or complete disaster.
A non-disclosure agreement is an important additional factor that helps protect both parties, as any interference or breach could jeopardize the current undertaking and future collaborations. In short, it pays to bring in an esteemed brand strategist and ensure all relevant details about your innovation remain confidential until it is ready for launch.
After the initial strategy, evaluate. Viewing this venture as a side gig or growing incrementally is acceptable. The prevailing thinking in tech is that you should only work on the next unicorn or build something for the next big exit. But what if your idea can become cash-flow positive, growing at a pace you can handle as a solopreneur, and eventual revenue can pay for more extensive growth?
Secure the name and structure
Deciding how and when to begin your venture might be a looming question in your mind. However, there are practical steps you can take right now — even before settling on all the details — to get you closer to success.
The first step is choosing a name and establishing a suitable structure around it, ensuring other companies or organizations will not take it. You also need to consider what framework and processes are required as you start.
Moreover, one significant factor you should consider is a group of people who can come together to make this venture possible — from development teams to potential partners. If the project allows for it, look into hiring remote teams based on occasion instead of including full-time payroll that could bring up overhead fees sooner than expected.
Build and validate
Having a well-thought-out plan for an idea is one thing, but turning that idea into a reality is quite another. Before venturing too far down the path of investing and building out the product, it’s vital to ensure that the project will have some return. To this end, you need to validate the idea — find out whether or not people would be interested in your product or service. Most importantly, make sure that the messaging lines up with what potential investors will want to hear.
Doing all this before contacting potential investors is essential, otherwise, you might exhaust all avenues without gaining traction.
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