As a new business, partnering with another company in a related field may seem like a great way to grow. But the stakes are much higher for tech startups, whose operations can easily be ruined by hitching their wagon to a passing fad.
“The technologies that are mainstream today may be eliminated over the next few years,” said Chris Miles, CEO of business software provider Miles Technologies. “I have seen many companies develop entire product lines and build services and solutions based completely on emerging or popular technologies. When those [fads] go away, everything dissolves. Then what? You have to make sound and smart decisions.”
When it comes to choosing which companies to do business with, having clear policies in place regarding this issue can help you make the best decisions for your startup. Miles’ company, for example, only chooses to work with larger, established companies that have a good chance of longevity and success. “When you are building a business, it is important to focus on instituting policies that help you mitigate risks,” Miles said. “As an entrepreneur, you always take risks. But with policies in place to guide decisions, you are not throwing the dice and hoping for the best.”
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Hiring employees can be a nerve-wracking experience for any startup, but tech startups often hire too many people before they’re really ready. Even if you have investor money behind you, stretching your resources too thin right away can quickly become a problem.
“Tech startups are fast-growing and attract massive amounts of funding, but it’s hard to accommodate that growth well,” said William Zhou, CEO of education technology company Vetica. “Tech startups are notorious for overscaling, or hiring too many employees prematurely. In fact, 74 percent of high-growth Internet startups fail due to premature scaling, according to the 2011 Startup Genome Report. Always hire slow and fire fast.”