Diving into the tech industry can be as challenging as it is rewarding, which is why we’ve gathered wisdom from twenty seasoned tech entrepreneurs and CEOs. From highlighting your expertise to hiring quickly to increase urgency, these founders and leaders share their invaluable advice for anyone embarking on their first tech venture. Tech startup secrets: Here is expert advice for first-time tech entrepreneurs:

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  • Highlight Your Expertise
  • Develop Message-Market Fit
  • Secure Capable Technical Partners
  • Release Early and Prepare for Grind
  • Exercise Patience and Plan for Delays
  • Include a Technical Co-Founder
  • Let Passion Drive Your Tech Venture
  • Embrace Failure as a Learning Tool
  • Leverage Networking for Growth
  • Master Your Chosen Software Tools
  • Geek Out Over Your Product’s Issue
  • Disrupt with Unique Content Strategy
  • Prioritize Distribution and Adapt Pricing
  • Stay True to Your Core Purpose
  • Be Customer Obsessed and Pivot as Needed
  • Adapt to GenAI and Think Exponentially
  • Trust Your Team with Their Tasks
  • Understand All Business Aspects
  • Collect Customer Feedback Systematically
  • Hire Quickly to Increase Urgency

Highlight Your Expertise

After four years of running a business, I’ve found the real challenge is getting people to notice your startup. These days, it’s pretty easy for anyone to start a tech company, which means there are a lot of them trying to get attention. 

So here’s my advice—stick to what you’re good at. If there’s something you excel in, consider starting a business in that area.

Talk to the people you want as customers before you start building anything. This helps you find out what problems they really need solved. Then, put together a basic version of your product that fixes these problems without adding extra stuff they don’t need. Show it to some potential customers and see if they’re impressed. If they are, you might be onto something. If not, ask more people what’s missing.

Your first few customers are really important. Spend time with them to learn what they like, what doesn’t work, and what they thought they were getting compared to what they actually received. This information is gold—it’ll help you make your product better and could be the key to your success.

That’s it! I hope my insight is beneficial to your audience. If you require more clarity on any of the points mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

CJ Looi, Co-founder & CEO, Pixcap

Develop Message-Market Fit

Listen closely, fledgling tech entrepreneurs, because this is the cornerstone of not just surviving but thriving in the tech world. Know your customer inside and out, and develop Message-Market 

Fit first. Before you code a single line, design a single interface, or pitch to any investor, you need to understand who you’re building for. What are their pain points? How do they go about their day? What solutions have they tried, and why have those solutions fallen short? Your product needs to fit into their world so seamlessly that they can’t imagine going back to life before it. Get this right, and everything else—from product development to your sales strategy—will align more naturally.

Kellen Casebeer, Founder, The Deal Lab

Secure Capable Technical Partners

If you’re a tech entrepreneur without any technical background, getting a capable tech person on board from the get-go is paramount. You need to build the MVP fast, and you need to set the foundation right. 

On the other hand, when you’re a tech genius yourself, you need to find people or advisors to explain the market and sales processes to have a way to get your product out there. There are brilliant minds out there with ideas that could disrupt the world, but only a few make it out of the garage. A combination of timing and luck also comes into play, but having the right people or advisors increases your chances for success tenfold.

Marie Evart, Co-Founder & Community Manager, Teamdash

Release Early and Prepare for Grind

If you’re not at least slightly embarrassed by your V1 product release, you’ve released it too late.

Also,be ready for a grind. Tech involves a lot of ups and downs, and you need to be prepared to fight until the end. Eventually, your competition will just give up. It’s a battle.

Adam Curwin, Chief Operating Officer, Skydog Ops

Exercise Patience and Plan for Delays

My biggest piece of advice is to have patience. If you’re like me, you want to get things done right now. But with the development and growth of a tech company, it has been my experience that everything takes two to three times longer than I think it will. I have owned and sold eight SaaS companies, and this holds true every single time. 

So, be patient. Plan ahead, knowing that growth is going to be slower than you think, and the development is going to be slower than you want, and then you can set realistic expectations for the business.

Adam White, Founder, SquidVision

Include a Technical Co-Founder

It’s acceptable if you lack technical experience. However, a technological startup requires a technical background from at least one of its founders. A founder who is technically proficient and can grasp the technical aspects of your product, like the back of his or her hand, is essential to the seamless operation of a startup. 

You may manage the operational parts of your organization while they take care of the technological ones. Additionally, they will be able to foster improved collaboration across the various teams that you employ.

Jeremy Bogdanowicz, Founder & CEO, JTB Studios

Let Passion Drive Your Tech Venture

Launching into the tech startup arena was a journey that began not in a boardroom, but from the floor of my living room, surrounded by guitar pedals and patch cables. The genesis of my entrepreneurial venture wasn’t sparked by market research or investment trends, but from a deeply personal place of passion and, admittedly, a bit of frustration.

As someone deeply entrenched in the world of guitar pedals, dedicating more hours to tweaking and experimenting with pedal boards than most would consider reasonable, I found myself constantly confronting a glaring gap in the market. Despite a vibrant community of collectors and enthusiasts, there was no centralized hub where one could explore, compare, and truly understand the nuanced differences between pedals—be it the warm, analog tones of a vintage Big Muff or the crisp, digital delay of a modern boutique pedal.

This gap wasn’t just an inconvenience; it was a barrier to the community’s deeper engagement and appreciation of the art and science behind guitar pedals. Recognizing this, I saw an opportunity to blend my professional expertise in technology with my personal passion for music. Thus, my tech venture—a comprehensive database for guitar pedals—was born. It was conceived not just as a business idea, but as a mission to democratize access to information, bringing clarity and cohesion to the fragmented world of pedal collecting.

Building the platform was a journey of merging my technical background with an uncharted foray into front-end development, driven by the ambition to create a user-friendly, informative, and comprehensive resource. This project was more than just a business; it was a personal vendetta against the disorganized and opaque information that had long plagued the guitar pedal community.

Embrace your passions and let them guide your innovations. It’s not merely about identifying a market need but about creating a solution that resonates with you and serves a community you’re passionate about. This approach not only makes the entrepreneurial journey more fulfilling but also increases the likelihood of your business making a meaningful impact.

Anthony Easton, Founder, Lead Developer, Stompbx

Embrace Failure as a Learning Tool

Starting your own tech business for the first time can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. You may have a great idea, a solid plan, and even some initial funding, but there is no guarantee of success in the fast-paced and competitive world of technology. 

That’s why my biggest piece of advice would be not to be afraid to fail. Failure is inevitable in any entrepreneurial journey, but it’s how you handle and learn from those failures that will ultimately determine your success. Embrace the possibility of failure and use it as an opportunity to learn, pivot, and improve your business. 

Don’t let fear hold you back from taking risks and pursuing your dreams. Instead, see failure as a valuable learning experience and a necessary step toward achieving your goals. Remember, some of the most successful tech businesses today were built on a foundation of multiple failures and setbacks.

John McDougall, Founder & CEO, McDougall Interactive

Leverage Networking for Growth

Networking is often overlooked by tech entrepreneurs, but it can lead to valuable connections, partnerships, and opportunities. Build relationships with industry experts, potential investors, and like-minded entrepreneurs. Attend tech events, join online communities, and engage with individuals who can provide insights and support. 

For example, networking with a seasoned entrepreneur might lead to valuable advice on navigating challenges or securing funding. Remember, relationships are key in the tech industry.

Ben Lau, Founder, Featured SEO Company

Master Your Chosen Software Tools

Get the right tools for the job and learn how to use them in the dark! You need to decide which software tools you’re going to use for at least the first five years of your business. 

It doesn’t matter which development kits or programming applications you get; you need to train before even attempting the business side. 

Once you are comfortable using the software and have a workable product, then you can start securing funding, creating a marketing plan, and building a website. 

Just like programming, business is iterative. Get the basics going, then you can move on. Many startups make the mistake of trying too much too soon. 

Build a solid software foundation. Then you can start on your business plan.

Bernardo Castro, Founder, Bybrand

Geek Out Over Your Product’s Issue

I cannot stress this enough—you need to geek out over the specific issue or need that your product aims to address. That purpose should drive everything, from your pitch to investors to late-night coding sessions. 

But don’t corner yourself on how exactly you solve it. Launching a business has more moving parts than you can even comprehend this early. All those features you envision could end up useless. So shine your North Star on the problem itself, but explore different paths to get there. 

And surround yourself with smart people who align with the mission. They’ll shape the winning strategy far more than you can alone. Give them equity if needed. Success will come down to that team.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Disrupt with Unique Content Strategy

Starting your own tech business is an exciting journey, filled with opportunities and challenges. With my experience in building platforms, I have navigated the complexities of the tech industry and SEO landscape successfully. 

My advice would be to hack your growth with a unique content strategy. Understand your audience and how they consume content. For example, Nothing, a smartphone company started by the former CEO of OnePlus, Carl Pei, has taken a risk by utilizing an unusual marketing approach to advertise its products. Pei can be seen evaluating rival devices on Nothing’s official YouTube channel, such as the Samsung S23 Ultra, OnePlus 11, and Apple iPhone 14 Pro. 

Unexpectedly, Pei names the iPhone 14 Pro as the best high-end smartphone in one of the videos. This is an odd strategy for the CEO of a competing company; some of these videos have over 3 million views. Using this unique approach, the brand has won multiple awards and sold over 2 million phones since 2020. Carl Pei’s strategy with Nothing exemplifies how unconventional tactics can effectively disrupt traditional marketing norms and significantly boost brand visibility and consumer engagement.

Guy Sheetrit, Founder, Over The Top Inc

Prioritize Distribution and Adapt Pricing

Don’t wait until your product is perfect; it will never be. There’s an open secret in technology: every application has a lot of bugs and is always missing functionality. It doesn’t matter as much as long as your core functionality is working and delivering the promised result. 

Also, focus on distribution. This is way more important than many tech entrepreneurs realize. Hacker News, Product Hunt, and Reddit posts won’t get you to the promised land. You need to find a distribution channel that fits your product and then put in the work to master it. 

For example, a product that costs $199/month will have a very different strategy from one that costs $19/month. 

The first one can probably take advantage of an inside sales team if the lead velocity is high enough. The latter can only rely on organic marketing channels and product-led growth. Your pricing determines how you sell your product—not vice versa.

Daniel Ndukwu, CMO and Co-founder, DoxFlowy

Stay True to Your Core Purpose

One invaluable piece of advice for first-time tech entrepreneurs is to focus on the core purpose—to simplify, improve, or add value to people’s lives through your product or service. Your venture doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel; instead, focus on the core purpose within the industry by addressing specific needs that often go overlooked. 

Embracing this principle not only grounds your endeavors in authenticity but also fosters a deeper connection with your target audience, as they resonate with the genuine intent behind your product or service.

Kos Galatsis, CEO & CTO, Forensics Detectors

Be Customer Obsessed and Pivot as Needed

Fall in love with the problem you’re solving, not just the solution you have. That passion will fuel you through tough times and keep you grounded when things get crazy. Build something that truly makes a difference, and people will notice.

Focus on customer obsession; their needs become your guiding star. Be nimble, adapt to change, and don’t be afraid to pivot if needed. Finally, surround yourself with smart, supportive people who believe in your vision. It’s a demanding journey, but with these steps, you’ll be well on your way!

Julian Bruening, CEO, MLP Software Development

Adapt to GenAI and Think Exponentially

The best advice today in tech is to adjust to the rapid changes brought by GenAI, a shift that cannot be ignored. In the background, a large number of companies are suddenly replaced by the facilities of GenAI and small teams that can replicate in one day what companies were working on for months. This is a signal that you have to be agile, think outside the box, have an exponential framework, and be a first-principles thinker. 

Today’s organizations don’t require as much workforce, and the focus should be on generalists, not top-notch engineers. I would say that navigating today’s landscape requires a gritty mind, a sharp one that can easily connect dots and see the bigger picture from the future because today, as we speak, many invisible things are happening that any day can shift the landscape. With this in mind, you will find better ways to maybe connect the dots instead of just innovating one thing that can be replicated tomorrow by almost anyone.

Cristina Imre, Founder Tech Leadership Lab & Quantum Wins Consultant, Tech Leadership Lab

Trust Your Team with Their Tasks

Let your people do the jobs you hired them for. This is a much more prevalent issue in tech businesses, in my experience, than in most others. It’s hard to let go of the reins of your technology and let someone else work on it, but my take on it has always been that if you’re going to micromanage someone when they’re trying to do their job, then why did you hire them in the first place? 

There will be growing pains, and not everything will go exactly the way you want, and that’s OK. Let your experts do their jobs, guide them when necessary, and try to stop worrying about how you would do it instead.

Kate Kandefer, CEO, SEOwind

Understand All Business Aspects

Learn the other aspects of your business so that you can step in as a sales leader, an accountant, a marketer, etc., when necessary, because it absolutely will be at some point. 

I started out as a programmer before starting my own business about 12 years ago, so as you might imagine, I had quite a lot to learn about actually running a business. I knew the tech, but I hardly knew anything else and needed to upscale quickly if I wanted to make a real run at it. I spent a few months feverishly taking online courses in sales, marketing, and other topics I thought would prove helpful in my first year of operations—a tactic that paid off, as that first year also saw me bring in my first million in revenue. 

Knowing the core of your business is key, but so is knowing how every part of it operates on at least a moderately high level when you’re getting started.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms

Collect Customer Feedback Systematically

Have a system for collecting customer feedback. In order to create a tech product that provides a bullseye solution to your customers’ problems, you first need to know about their pain points, preferences, and experiences. Use these data and insights to constantly improve your product or service until it becomes just the thing that will suit your customers’ needs and wants. This is how you build a successful tech business that puts customers at the heart of your product.

Baidhurya Mani, Founder, SellCoursesOnline

Hire Quickly to Increase Urgency

As fast as you can afford it, make that first initial hire. The accountability of providing payroll will naturally increase your urgency. It will also provide valuable experience in hiring and management. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people.

When I launched Skydog Ops, I operated it solo for the first six months. It was easy to occasionally slack off when no one was relying on me and my customer list was still small. The moment I made my first hire and had daily check-ins with a direct report, my urgency and focus increased.

Corey Schwitz, CEO & Founder, Skydog Ops