At Scandia Partners, our founders specialize in successfully growing and scaling tech-enabled businesses. We understand the unique challenges facing tech-driven companies and know what it takes to succeed in this competitive and ever-changing landscape. We have put together some insights from our years of experience in successfully building strong tech companies while consistently achieving high rates of return.
Establish your core values & mission
At the heart of any successful company, regardless of the industry, is a well thought out mission statement and a strong set of core values. Establish your company’s core values early on and stick to them. Honestly assess the key principles that are at the heart of your company and detail them out in a way that is easy for you and your team to remember and understand. Once you have thoughtfully identified your core values, don’t just put them on your wall and forget about them. Use them as the yardstick for every single decision and interaction with customers, vendors, partners, and your own team members.
Understand your customer’s needs
Many tech companies start with a big idea -- an innovation that will disrupt the industry. The most successful tech-enabled companies, however, begin by looking at their customer’s needs and how they can fix a specific problem. For example, with Smart Rain, our founders recognized the need for a better way for property owners and municipalities to manage their irrigation systems and water usage. Rather than starting with a revolutionary technology that may not have an applicable use in their customer’s daily lives, they started with a key pain point and creatively utilized the intersection of technology and their irrigation system to radically change the way property owners approached and controlled their water usage. Sleek code, a flashy UI, or groundbreaking way to use an emerging technology will ultimately end in a failed business venture if all of those elements are not built upon a deep understanding of your customer’s needs and how your specific software or tech-enabled solution meets those needs.
Never stop innovating
As the owner of a tech-driven company, you must commit yourself to constant innovation. Technology is ever-evolving at a rapid pace. Once you have developed your disruptive technology, you cannot rest on your laurels and think your work is done. In order to maintain your competitive edge, the software or technology you have built your business on must continue to adapt and improve to meet the changing needs of your customers, any new operating system and device requirements, and enhanced security protocols as cybersecurity threats evolve and expand.
Surround yourself with the right people
As with any business, you will be your most successful when you surround yourself with the right people for the right jobs. Focus your early stage efforts on building a team of people who are skilled in areas where you are weak or where you might not have the capacity to focus your energy and efforts. Consider areas like front- and back-end development, IT security, customer service, accounting, and daily operations. Each of these team members, regardless of their position, need to be steeped your company’s mission and core values and need to have a strong understanding of who your customer is, what their specific pain points are, and how they can use their position to ease these pain points and make your tech-enabled product or service invaluable to your customer base.
Invest in security
If your tech-enabled company collects any data whatsoever from your customers, including information as simple as their login credentials or basic contact information, it is vital that you invest in strong security protocols that will protect that data. If your business is cloud-based or is built upon the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning, your security needs will be more complex and more vulnerable to increasingly complex cybersecurity threats. Investing in strong information security early can save you and your business in hefty fines and penalties as well as potential lost revenue if failure to protect your customer’s data results in loyal customers abandoning your business in droves.
Communication is key
Consistent, clear communication is fundamental to building and growing any successful business, but it is particularly important for tech companies in our increasingly privacy sensitive digital world. Proactive, transparent communication with your customers, employees and investors is crucial to gaining and maintaining trust. From new product features and software upgrades to known system glitches or downtown for scheduled maintenance, regular internal and external communication allows you to keep both your team and your customers up-to-date on any pertinent information while simultaneously serving as an opportunity to foster your relationship, build brand loyalty and prevent any potential frustration. Now more than ever, if your tech company encounters a security breach, it is imperative that you communicate that breach and any implications immediately to all those impacted. In our proven track record of building and scaling high growth tech companies, we have learned that it is best to not only communicate, but to overcommunicate.If you are in the process of starting or growing your tech-enabled business and are interested in learning more about how the founders at Scandia Partners can put our proven track record to work for you, reach out to us. We’d love to talk.