Silicon Valley – the stomping ground of some of the world’s richest (and youngest) startup entrepreneurs. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are only some of the big kahunas that come to mind when you think of the San Francisco bay area. Although most of these are technology driven companies their success still began with a small simple idea – possibly, much like your own startup. It’s great to have big dreams, and while you might not be setting up shop next to Google’s campus any time soon, you can learn a lot from the way Silicon Valley companies do business. But what is it that really makes the Californian business hub such a great startup incubator? Here are few business tips your startup can take from the Silicone Valley success manual:
1. Be innovative and think out of the box – or better yet, think like there is no box.
It should come as no surprise that standing out from the rest is one of the top business tips from Silicon Valley startups. This is also one of the main drivers behind why entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger. The fresher the idea, the more likely it is to hit a consumer sweet spot. According to an article on the Harvard Business Review the average age of business founders in Silicon Valley is just over 31. Microsoft master Bill Gates might not have finished his tertiary education, but his innovative thinking and determination made him one of the biggest and most influential figures in the computing industry. By finding new ways to do things and being just one step ahead of his competitor’s, Gates secured market domination. He had the ability to see and solve problems that his competitors couldn’t.
2. Be willing to try, try and then try again until you get it right.
Having a solution driven approach to everything and perseverance are great business tips you can take from Silicon Valley startups. Yes, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg might have had a quicker (and easier) ride to the top of the success pyramid than most, but he was also met with a lot of criticism. He even suffered a lawsuit against him by his own friend and business partner. For some of the more mature companies like Apple and Google, a lot of trial and error was involved and, of course, working out of a garage at some point. Apple founder, Steve Jobs suffered a few financial and competitive blows before turning the company into the successful tech empire it is today.
3. Be the life of the party – networking is the best way to promote your brand.
The big boys in California know how to party and while some might see this in a negative light, it’s really not a bad thing for business. People are more open to ideas in social situations. They are relaxed and don’t have pressing deadlines chasing them down. You don’t have to have a teenage-style house party with beer on tap, but a tasteful gathering with some snacks and good wine is sure to get some attention. People tend to forget how important word-of-mouth marketing is. Yes, I know what you’re thinking – digital and social marketing is just the bee’s knees, but as a startup your connections might still be limited. So too will your budget, preventing you from fully utilising the power of online.
4. Get a worthy wingman – you need the right team to back you up.
Behind every great entrepreneur there is a great wingman. Gates had one, Jobs and Zuckerberg had quite a few and they played a crucial part in turning startups into a multi-billion dollar grossing companies. There are many great minds out there, so make sure you have at least one of them on your team. You might be an idea-generating machine, but there are sure to be aspects of your business you can’t see to yourself. Don’t be afraid to dip your finger into the new best talent on the block. Many of the Silicon Valley greats started with a team but didn’t think twice about looking around for someone who better supports their business ideals or growth plans.
5. Make doing business a whole lot simpler by finding the right software.
Most of Silicon Valley consists of tech startups, but they all still use various software packages to streamline processes, improve productivity and get rid of redundant and tedious tasks. Coding software and building computers is not quite the same as having to deal with financial administration. Sifting through receipts, drawing up spread sheets and dealing with quotes and invoices is an extremely dreary part of business but it has to be done. As a startup business your budget is also likely to be rather on the tight side so appointing a permanent person to take care of the books is not an option. Using online accounting software is the most cost-effective, accurate and easiest way to deal with your money matters. At SMEasy, we take care of the books so you can grow your startup Silicon Valley-style. Our smart online accounting software and business management system lets you get on with business and we even have some of our own business tips we’d love to share through our comprehensive support systems.