What every budding tech-preneur should know
There are a myriad problems facing local tech start-ups and top amongst them is funding. However, lack of capital can be as a result of other reasons such as an ill-conceived concept.
When coming up with an application, every developer looking forward to launching the product into the market needs to know that it takes a procedure.
And the procedure towards the product’s actualisation begins with identifying a need in the market.
The need then inspires an idea that will add value to life or that will solve a problem which has proven to be a hard nut to crack.
Once the need is established, testing the product should help a tech-preneur to know if there is a market.
The strength or the weakness of the marketplace will help a technologist determine whether to continue developing the application or discard it altogether.
“Failing to test the product is where most tech-preneurs get hobbled and then build something that has no real market,” said Mr Moses Kemibaro, a digital services professional and founder of Dotsavvy —a digital agency.
“There are many instances of ‘solutions looking for a problem’ which should not be the case; a tech-preneur needs to conduct a detailed market analysis to begin with,” he said.
Additionally, engaging the target market is essential when testing the product as it will help determine if the product is solving the problem or adding value.
“They need to ‘field test’ their business concept with actual customers by going out there and talking to them and establishing if the product actually works for them. Ideally, this would be done after validating the product concept with customers prior to actually building it,” he said.
While determining a target market and testing the product, tech-preneurs also need to be aware of the numbers they are targeting.
The data will give them a rough idea on the expected revenue should the business break even. It need not to be a blind venture as every tech-preneur should have expectations.
After confirming the practicability of the product, tech-preneurs need to have a laid out plan of how to commercialise the idea to realise returns.
Penetrating the market is essential if any returns are to be realised. According to Mr Kemibaro, techies need to figure out their ‘go to market’ strategy in advance.
By aggressively participating in competitions and buying internet advertising, products will fast gain visibility through such initiatives.
Furthermore, word of mouth from happy clients will help in attracting financing if need be and accelerate market roll-out and product development.
When making applications, techies also need to address the international audience.
The broad market will put them at a competitive edge and give them huge numbers to engage.
Also, like offline business, technology based businesses are prone to teething problems.
There is no need to worry should the product take time to pick.
“It will take three years or more for most of these technology based businesses to break even,” said Mr Martin Muli, an online business consultant.
“The idea may be great but the local market is reserved. Kenyans will get excited about a platform but it will take time before they can use it,” he added.
Establishing a strong base for the business is core as investors will rarely put their money in start-ups that lack a business model.