The idea behind your tech startup might be incredibly innovative and something never before seen, but the process of building it as a business and making it successful is not an uncharted path. Always remember: Many have made it before you!
So study exactly what they did, and then go ahead and do it again. It’s that simple. They invented the wheel – just go use their wheel.
If you have some incredible urge to be completely innovative and new, and do it like it’s never been done before, curb that urge. Focus instead on helping people by solving the real problem they have which your tech solution solves. And on becoming successful by any means possible, which will get your solution into the hands of those who need it.
You don’t always need to be original
This attitude does not require groundbreaking innovation and creativity in the process of building your business. It does not require amazing originality in how you go about marketing. All it requires is that you follow the steps to success. And most of those steps have been taken before you by others. So find them and follow them.
Squeamish about copying? Don’t be…
You’re not stealing their business idea. That is a huge no-no. Unless you can improve on it – that’s a big yes-yes! It’s not copying when you use the same mindset or strategy as another tech startup – it’s flattery. Make it an obsession to study success, and you’ll fly forwards to reach it yourself.
Here are 6 powerful lessons to get you started.
Apartment List ($15 million startup)
This very successful rental marketplace consolidates the massive listings of established marketplaces like Zillow and RightMove.
Lesson: joint venture, leverage the success of others
ShoeDazzle (13 million members)
In 2011, this online styling platform and store ditched its successful subscription model, but then realised the old way worked better, so they went back to it.
Lesson: don’t be too proud to admit mistakes, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and test first!
Taboola ($100 million annual revenue)
Recommends content to viewers based on what they already view. Democratises the process by putting the control of the recommendation process in the hands of the viewers themselves.
Lesson: be as personal as possible, utilise your end-users
MapMyFitness (acquired for $150 million)
Uses GPS technology to track workouts, with plenty of supporting features that make working out easier. Can be used on over 200 devices, which allows it to have 13 million members.
Lesson: be very easy to use, team up with successful devices, be available everywhere
Voxy (3 million users)
Helps native Spanish speakers to learn English with real-life situational use of sentences carefully built up over time. They haven’t branched out into other languages and markets – they’ve stayed with English for Spanish speakers and have dominated that niche.
Lesson: choose a good niche, dominate it, no need to over-extend too fast
Pandora (raised $231 million in its IPO)
Offers a very personalised music recommendation service.
Lesson: personal works and builds loyalty
If you make a habit of taking the biggest lessons from success, you will start to think like a champ. And without even realising it you’ll start to emulate them in the way they act and strategise, all the way to joining them at the top.
Got any questions about how to emulate success in tech startups?