Everyone has an application idea. It’s debatable whether that’s a good or bad idea, but most people have an idea of what they’d like to build if they could. The main perceived impediment is a lack of technical experience, as well as the time required to get the idea up and running. For those who are eager to take on the challenge, here are some quick and most importantly practical tips.
#1 Take A Break From Netflix, YouTube, Video Games And Nights Out
Starting a business requires a long-term commitment, and you must prepare to work in the evenings and on weekends. If you want to get through this list, you will have a lot to get done, and the only way to be efficient is to eliminate the various distractions that surround you. That is not to say you should abandon them completely, but you might be surprised at how much you can accomplish in six months without all the noise.
#2 Gain Some Basic Technical Skills
A basic understanding of technology is not difficult to obtain. Focus on areas that are relevant to your specific idea; you do not need to become an expert, but you should have a rough idea of how your idea will function and be built. Take an online course in the relevant field for the first month or two of your newfound free time. I recommend Harvard’s CS50, which is free and provides an excellent overview of computer science, or Xccelerate, which offers in-person part-time and full-time courses.
#3 Enhance Your Soft Skills
Meet and converse with industry professionals. Do you have any industry contacts, or can anyone recommend you to someone? Meet that person for coffee and talk about the latest industry trends. Ask them to introduce you to 2-3 more people, and your confidence and network will grow quickly. If you struggled to identify areas to focus on with your idea in the previous section, now is the time to ask for help determining what you need to learn.
#4 Conduct Research on Your Idea
It’s pointless to spend the next six months on what you believe is a brilliant idea only to discover that there is no real demand for it in the real world. Engage your target audience to learn what gaps exist in their field and where opportunities exist. Try to meet people in person as much as possible, but keep in mind that you can also do a lot of this online; there are many focused Facebook groups you can join to get started.
#5 Determine Your Motivation
To begin, you must understand that starting a business is a long-term commitment. Forget about building a company in two years and then selling it for a big profit. Unless you are a seasoned entrepreneur, this is simply not feasible. You must be prepared to devote at least the next decade of your life to this company if it is successful.
As a result, money is not a sufficient motivator to drive your company’s success. That is not to say that money should not motivate you, but if you do not enjoy what you do, you will lack the willpower to persevere in the face of adversity (and things will get hard). So, while you may have a lot of money-making ideas in your head, make sure you choose one that you can stick with for the next 5 to 10 years.
#6 Create an MVP
A minimum viable product is essentially a working version of your idea that has been pared down to its bare essentials. This does not have to be pretty or even work perfectly. It only needs to serve as proof that your concept can work and be successful. There are several approaches you can take.
- You can construct it yourself using your newly acquired technological skills. Build it as a final project for one of these online courses.
- Collaborate with a tech-savvy individual. There are many tech-savvy individuals who lack the soft skills required to run a business. They will require you just as much as you will require them.
- Outsource the creation of an MVP to a digital creative agency. This will not be as expensive as you might think because you only need the skeleton of an application built rather than a fully developed and tested application.
#7 Start The Company
You’ll never get anywhere unless you’re willing to take risks. Begin by forming a corporation, and the momentum will carry you forward. There are several things to consider for Hong Kong:
- Select a Company Name: Check the Companies Registry to see if it has already been taken by another company (icris.cr.gov.hk).
- Locate a company secretary: They must be someone independent of you and must live in Hong Kong. Choose a trustworthy friend or family member to assist you.
- Fill out the forms and register. Ask a friend who has previously started a business, read some tutorials online, or outsource it. To establish a limited company, you will typically require the following three items:
- NNC1: A form that contains information about the company’s name, directors, shares, and address.
- IRBR1: A simple form that gives notice to the Business Registry
- Articles of Association: You can use the sample copies available from the E-registry website.
#8 Establish an Online Presence
Businesses that do not have a strong online presence suffer in today’s world. Most customers will conduct internet research on your company before doing business with you. Let us get you started with these steps:
- Create a domain name for your business. Check out GoDaddy, NameCheap, and HostGator to see what’s available. It’s worth noting that.com,.com.hk, and.net domains lend legitimacy to your company.
- Set up email accounts with the same service provider. I would recommend setting up an email address for each director as well as a general information address.
- Create a website. Look for YouTube videos on how to set up a simple WordPress website for your business (the above providers will integrate with WordPress). Because WordPress is free and open-source, there is a wealth of support and templates available to assist you. Consider having your website professionally designed because it will become synonymous with your brand and is widely regarded as one of the best investments a startup can make.
- Create and maintain your social media pages! Choose from the following options: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. To gain more support and followers, try to post at least once every two days on one of the accounts. Research social media strategies online and create a marketing plan, or simply outsource it to a Digital Creative Agency.
#9 Complete Your Company Admin
Now that you’ve founded your company and established your online presence, it’s time to get down to business. You must keep the following things in mind:
- Begin by keeping financial records. Begin keeping track of all your expenses and receipts. Set up an Excel spreadsheet to track all of your company’s spending on a daily basis.
- Obtain business cards: You can get some reasonably priced ones for around HK $400 to $600. Look for free templates on the internet.
- Download contract templates: Google free business contract templates or sign up for a free trial of Bonsai to generate some.
- Get a company bank account: This will be difficult to obtain from larger banks in Hong Kong, but NEAT will provide a company bank account to start-ups.
- Create a slide show: This is a PowerPoint presentation of about 10-20 slides that explains why your company is brilliant. Google examples of companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook.
#10 Start Pitching!
Lack of funds is no reason not to start a business. All of the points mentioned above can help you start your own business for as little as HK $2500.
However, if you require additional funding to expand your business, there are several government grants available, including the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund, the Technology Voucher Programme, and the DesignSmart Initiative.
In addition, there are over 1600 start-up accelerators in Hong Kong, including Beatatron and Brinc. These grants and accelerators require a slide deck and a minimum viable product (MVP). You should already have these two items by this point!
And it’s all up to you from there! Make a good plan and work on it, but don’t be afraid to abandon it if other opportunities present themselves. Speak to any entrepreneur, and you will discover that starting a business has many unexpected twists and turns. It will be up to you to navigate them in the best way possible for your company.
If you are considering starting a business and would like some advice or assistance, please contact RH-Studio. We hope to assist a new generation of people in becoming their own technological entrepreneurs.