Do you wish your startup could be the next Facebook or Google? Being located in Silicon Valley isn’t essential to the success of tech startup businesses—but it sure doesn’t hurt. Just what is the magic factor that makes Silicon Valley such a breeding ground for successful startups? Even if you aren’t starting a tech company, here are some insights that can help some of that Silicon Valley magic rub off on your startup.
1. Go where the resources are.
Capital is one thing every startup business owner needs, and those who are located in Silicon Valley have access to lots of financing sources. With dozens of venture capital firms in the area, it’s easy to connect with potential investors. New entrepreneurs can also benefit from the plethora of tech incubators in the area.
What you can do: If you’re not located in Silicon Valley, finding capital may not be as easy as bumping into a VC at the corner coffee house. That said, every city has its financing sources for startup businesses. You’ll just have to make more of an effort to identify them and connect with them.
2. Employees make the business.
Employers in Silicon Valley employers have lots of employees to select from; after all, the area’s elite colleges and universities churn out thousands of well-educated graduates every year. Employees from outside the area flock to Silicon Valley knowing it offers the potential for huge financial rewards. But beyond the dollar signs, what tech employees really prize is the chance to contribute to world-changing products and services, learn new things and burnish their skills.
What you can do: Employees are one of the most valuable resources that any business can have—so you need to go where the employees are. If you need manufacturing workers, for instance, locate your startup in an area where people are seeking this kind of work. Once you’ve found your team, reward them both financially and emotionally and provide competitive employee benefits to build employee loyalty.
3. Startup businesses need innovation.
Silicon Valley’s most successful companies are passionate about innovation. They continually seek to improve, whether by launching new products or finding new ways to provide their service. They don’t get hung up on making it perfect—they just keep trying, testing and failing until they succeed.
What you can do: Your startup business idea may not be on the level of Google in terms of innovation, but innovation is still essential to success. Know how your company differs from the competition (and if there’s nothing different about it, keep working on that). Consistently try new ideas. Show your employees you trust them by giving them a chance to fail without fear.
4. Understand your customers.
Successful tech businesses are always in touch with their target market and customers. They closely monitor industry trends and watch future predictions. All of this helps them be first to market with the “next big thing.”
What you can do: You don’t have to beat every competitor to market with your business idea, but you do need to keep one step ahead of what your customers want. Frequently survey your target market via social media and in person. Use the insights you gain from talking to your customers to guide your business’s next steps, and you’ll be more successful.
5. Learn from your competition.
Startup businesses need each other to succeed. In the competitive environment of Silicon Valley, startup entrepreneurs can’t help seeing what other businesses are doing. Being hyper-aware of the competition and learning from competitors’ mistakes helps startup business owners get better and better.
What you can do: Don’t isolate yourself from other entrepreneurs or fear your ideas being stolen by the competition. Instead, take every opportunity you can to connect with other business owners. Whether they’re in your industry or not, rubbing elbows with people who think differently will expose you to new ideas you can learn from.
Want to know more? Find out the biggest mistakes that tech startups make.
Excited business team giving high-five at meeting stock photo by fizkes/Shutterstock