Five tips for wannabe Welsh tech entrepreneurs

Welsh tech is certainly leading the way, but what’s unique about the digital landscape is the above average number of start-ups and small tech firms driving the sector.

Across all sectors in Wales, the percentage of enterprises with fewer than 10 employees is 13% or around one in eight. In ICT, it’s 22% – that’s more than one in five.

Adam Curtis is an excellent example of the growing number of young tech entrepreneurs working in Wales. Based in Swansea, he founded tech start-up Hoowla, which provides online conveyancing software for solicitors. Adam also acts as a role model for the Big Ideas Wales programme.

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Big Ideas Wales forms part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service. It encourages young people across the country to develop their entrepreneurial skills and consider entrepreneurship as a viable future career.

Here, Adam gives his top tips that any budding tech entrepreneur should consider when setting up their own business.

Work out the most efficient way to test

Adequately testing an idea with your target market is vital for any start-up, but try and remember that everything doesn’t need to be ‘perfect’ before you begin. Even in the tech world, it’s ok to have unrefined manual processes going on behind the scenes to begin with.

As long as testing proves to people that your final product works and is of value, you can start selling – and you should. If you can create early cash-flow, you will probably find it even easier and quicker to automate or fix issues in back-office functionality.

Too many tech start-ups, and entrepreneurs in general, take far too long trying to make sure every stage of the process is exactly how they want it before even beginning to test.

Leverage the help that is available to you

ICT is one of the Welsh Government’s priority sectors, and as such talented individuals with great ideas can draw on a wealth of available help and resources from both the public and private sectors in Wales.

It isn’t just financial assistance either – organisations like Big Ideas Wales help guide young entrepreneurs (in any sector) through all the practical steps of setting up their own enterprises.

Get to know your customers’ industry

Tech in particular has always been a sector with a vibrant and influential start-up scene. Everyone tends to know everyone, and there’s always a lot of buzz around exciting start-ups.

Ultimately, though, the success of your business isn’t judged by how close your network is. Your number of Twitter followers, or how much you know about what’s happening with other entrepreneurs. Selling to customers will always be priority number one.

Get on the road

Speaking of which, don’t limit yourself geographically. In tech, as in most sectors nowadays, selling online is very important, but if you are selling business to business, nothing beats a face to face meeting and forming a working relationship with the customer.

I have travelled to Edinburgh and back in a day for customers before, so remember that you cannot let where you happen to operate limit or define your idea’s potential.

Just do it

As I alluded to earlier, don’t wait until you have the perfect product. It doesn’t exist. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about whether everything is just right and identifying the optimum launch date, but user feedback is usually a far better and more valuable barometer for how ready you are.

Once you have started, think fast and be prepared to change tack. As we all know, tech is an incredibly fast paced world. Trying to pre-plan perfectly may mean you miss a big opportunity.

Image credit: UNCG Research