Tech Entrepreneur

5 Tips on Becoming a Successful Tech Entrepreneur

Aug 14, 2017

Do you have a great idea for a tech solution that the world needs? If so, becoming a tech entrepreneur might be the ideal career path for you!

While setting your own hours and handling all aspects of your business might sound like an exciting opportunity, the reality is that creating a new tech company from the ground up requires hard work, commitment, and a significant dedication to your craft.

Yet, while the input may be great, the good news is the reward can be even greater. In fact, venture capitalists invested more than $56 billion in startups in 2016 alone, and that number continues to rise.

So, do you want in?

Today, we’re discussing five ways to succeed as you step into the world of tech entrepreneurship.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Find Passionate People

As you grow your company, your employees will quickly become the backbone of your business. As such, it’s vital to hire ones that are as enthusiastic and passionate about your solution as you are.

Steve Jobs is famously quoted as saying that when making a hiring decision at Apple, he was primarily interested in one thing — did that person love Apple?

When explaining his reasoning, Jobs said, “Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.”

As a tech entrepreneur, you may be at the helm of your business. Yet, your employees will be responsible for many of the processes that keep its gears running smoothly.

As such, you’ll want — and need — teammates that care as deeply as you do about what you’re selling.

2. Survey the Landscape

While you might think your offering is the best new idea to hit the tech market, chances are you could be up against scores of competitors offering a similar solution.

To stand out and get noticed, take a look at what’s currently being provided in your niche. Then, determine how your product or service is unique, and strive to highlight these differentiators.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and pick the brains of your industry peers, especially those with more experience than you. As you grow into your role as a tech entrepreneur, you’ll find that there’s something to be learned from everyone you meet — yes, even your competition.

So follow your passions and pursue your dreams fervently, but don’t forget to look up once in a while to see what everyone else is doing.

Studies show that sharing knowledge and communicating with other professionals is crucial for growth, though only 25% of executives are effectively doing so. Join that one-quarter and see what a difference it makes.

3. Meet a Need

You may have heard the statistic circulating around that Internet that 90% of startups fail. What’s discussed less frequently are the reasons behind this staggering figure.

The chief reason only one in 10 will succeed? Almost half (42%) of founders polled responded that there was no market need. 

This reason came in at the top, posing an even greater threat than a lack of funds (29%), a team that didn’t fit (23%) and pressure from competition (19%).

The takeaway? Even if you have all the capital you need, a stellar team, and little to no competition, if you aren’t providing a product or service that people actually need, it could be difficult to secure a spot in the tech landscape.

Today, technology allows us to create software and systems that perform all kinds of functions. From automated floss dispensers to a Bluetooth-connected toaster, there’s virtually no limit to what we can create when given the capacity.

Yet, being a tech entrepreneur requires an incredible investment of time, energy, and resources — not just from yourself, but from your team as well.

To boost your ROI and up your odds of success, pinpoint your target demographic. Then, determine what those consumers prioritize, prefer, and typically purchase.

How does your solution fit into that? If you aren’t sure, it might be time to re-evaluate your vision.

4. Manage Inputs and Outputs

Though much of being a tech entrepreneur centers on following your dream, the all-important, yet less glamorous administrative aspect cannot be overlooked.

At the end of the day, successfully managing your resources can make all the difference in succeeding and barely scraping by.

Especially in the beginning stages, every incoming dollar counts. The way you invest it back into your company is critical. To maintain the balance, you may have to get creative with the way you allocate income.

Are sky-high salaries burning a hole through your profits? Consider if you can offer lower pay but better benefits, offering employees morale-boosting incentives such as happy hours and comped meals to cut costs.

In the same vein, you’ll also be required to sharpen your time management skills. When you’re your own boss, that freedom can be incredibly liberating — and simultaneously overwhelming. 

Without set working hours, you can easily become burnt out. In fact, Gallup poll data reveals that 34% of entrepreneurs said they experienced worry “a lot of the day yesterday,” up four percentage points from all other workers. In addition, 45% experienced stress that same day, up three percentage points from the worker average.

In a nutshell, it’s important to focus not only on how you’re spending and investing your money but also your time. A successful entrepreneur will seek balance in both.

5. Plan Your Future

Before making any new move as a tech entrepreneur, make sure you have a detailed business plan in place. Creating one is crucial to making sure your company has a roadmap for the future.

Strategizing how your company will respond to changes in the market, new competition, fluctuations in profit margin, team growth, and more is a valuable first step.

As you craft your plan, be sure to account for some flexibility. What you think will work in 2017 might not be as applicable or important by 2020. In that case, sticking tight to your blueprint could do more harm than good.

Allow yourself the freedom to transition into a new phase if necessary, but build a solid foundation first. A business plan can help you get there by forcing you to put down on paper all the ideas and tangents that have been swirling in your head.

Not sure what to include in your plan? The U.S. Small Business Administration provides some helpful guidelines.

Straight from the Source: Advice from a Tech Entrepreneur

Now that you know a little more about how to succeed as a tech entrepreneur, do you still believe the path is for you? If so, I’d love to share my tips on how to navigate this rewarding, but sometimes tricky, landscape.

I provide relevant industry-related articles to help you ace the business management game. From branding strategies to social media, I’ll show you the ropes as you take each step along the journey.

To learn more, feel free to contact me and let’s connect!

brand strategy

How Brand Strategy Affects Organic Search Metrics

Aug 1, 2017

What’s the power of your brand?

Is it like a magnet drawing in more clicks, more engagement, more mentions and — most importantly — more sales?

Your brand strategy determines how the world sees you. But does it affect organic search metrics? Is its impact tangible? Or are you dealing with yet another unmeasurable in your marketing campaign?

Let’s take a look at how brand strategy impacts your organic traffic and how very measurable that impact can be.

Brand Awareness Through Brand Strategy

Ah, the power of familiarity.

People are drawn to what they know. They don’t even have to know much about you in the early stages of brand awareness.

Simply by recognizing you, they’re more likely to click. They’re more likely to check out your new offerings. They’re more likely listen to what you have to say because they know you.

The exact number is questionable. But research shows that it takes somewhere between 7 and 12 touches with your brand before a potential customer becomes an actual one. Each of these new clicks gets you that much closer to achieving marketing goals.

What does this mean for your organic search metrics? If they’ve entered a keyword and your brand’s name comes up, rather than click on a competitor, they click on the name they know.

Click through rate (CTR) is a known search engine ranking factor. This, therefore, contributes to your search engine ranking. CTR will have a positive effect on ranking as long as you’re providing the right user and customers experiences, which we’ll discuss next.

User Experience

Your user experience encompasses elements like:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Layout of your site
  • Easy to use navigation

User experience is an important part of your brand strategy. Your focus — or lack thereof — on your visitor’s experience says a lot about your brand.

If people are confused or frustrated by the experience on your website, they will flee.

Fleeing visitors would mean an increased bounce rate. Bounce rate is a term used to describe people leaving your site without interacting with it.

This is a known factor in search engine rankings. So it will affect your organic traffic.

Customer Experience

Through your brand strategy, you not only attract new visits; you engage them, keeping them on your site longer and increasing their click through to additional website pages.

You do this by:

  • Making compelling offers
  • Telling your story
  • Appealing to emotions
  • Offering valuable information
  • And so on

Creating the right experience for your customers is an important brand strategy that:

  • Helps new customers connect with your brand on a deeper level
  • Helps new customers connect faster
  • Increases brand loyalty
  • Increases promoter activity (sharing, liking, 5-star reviewing, recommending)

The impact on your organic search metrics is multi-faceted.

1st, visitors keep coming back because you’re creating a great customer experience = increased CTR = improved organic rankings

2nd, you’re keeping people on your site longer = decreased bounce rate = improved organic rankings

3rd, you’re increasing referral traffic from promoter activity = more traffic = improved organic rankings

Improving Branded Searches

Because of additional promoter activity caused through your brand strategy, you’ll see an increase in people asking for your website by name.

Instead of typing in a keyword, they’ll enter the name of your company or the website address into the search box.

This may either take them directly to your site. Or it may take them to search results that include you — and all of the websites who wish they were you.

Regardless, they’ll go to your website, increasing the organic and direct traffic to your site.

Research isn’t conclusive because you can’t create branded traffic in a vacuum, eliminating other ranking factors. But it’s strongly suspected by experts that these types of searches have a great impact on search rankings.

You’ll see increases in branded searches in the form of direct traffic in Google Analytics.

Measuring Brand Awareness ROI

Measuring how brand awareness is impacting your organic metrics allows to see the fruits of your labor and know you’re on the right track.

You need these measures called “micro-conversions” because sometimes financial rewards are delayed due to that 7-12 touches rule stated earlier.

Let’s look at several measures to gauge the impact of our brand strategy on organic metrics.

CTR

Your click through rate applies to both organic searches and your paid searches through FaceBook, Adwords, etc.

In both cases, because there’s greater brand awareness, you should see your CTR increase.

Direct Traffic

In Google Analytics (GA), you can view the sources of your website traffic. Among them, you’ll find direct traffic. Direct traffic is generated by users who type in your website’s URL and go straight to your website. You should see an increase in direct traffic.

Mentions

With greater promoter activity, your mentions will increase. That’s more reviews as well as mentions in social, blogs, forums and all over the web. You can track mentions with paid tracking tools like Mention or track social mentions through social media sites.

Social Referral Traffic

The number of visitors who arrive from social media will also increase. You can view these social referrals in GA.

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate will decrease because visitors care what you have to say, care about what you offer and you provide the right experience.

Natural Backlinks

You can use tools like AHrefs or Serps to check the number of backlinks on your website. More people are linking to you because of your brand strategy.

Organic Traffic

All of the above contributes to increased organic traffic.

Increased Conversion of Leads to Customers

Your ultimate goal in a brand strategy is typically to increase sales while reducing acquisition costs. Here as well you’ll see a measurable impact of your strategy.

More Strategy Solutions

Measuring how your strategy impacts organic metrics will help you improve the return on your branding efforts and achieve your branding goals.

If you’d like to learn more about branding strategy, social media, PR and marketing, visit my blog and contact me, Rafferty Pendery, Tech Entrepreneur, VC and International Speaker.