Categories
E-Commerce Web & Mobile Development

How To Start A Tech Company With No Experience

Everyone has an idea for an application. Whether that idea is a great idea or a bad idea is always up for debate, but most people have a sense of what they would love to build if they could. The main perceived stumbling block is the lack of technical experience, and the time it takes to get the idea up and running.

But that does not mean that you cannot start a tech company with zero experience, as I have done it myself. Here are some quick and most importantly practical tips for people who are keen to take on the challenge.

 

#1 Take A Break From Netflix, YouTube, Video Games And Nights Out

Starting a company is long term commitment, and you need to get into the mindset of working on your evenings and weekends. You will have a lot to get done if you want to get through this list, and the only way to be efficient is to give up the various distractions surrounding you. That is not to say give them up permanently, but you might be surprised at how much you get done in six months without all the noise.

 

#2 Gain Some Basic Technical Skills

A basic understanding of technology is not hard to come by. Try to focus on areas relevant to your particular idea, you will not need to become an expert, but you should have a rough idea of how your idea will function and how it will be built. Spend the first month or two of your newfound spare time taking an online course in the relevant field. I can recommend Harvard’s CS50, which is free and provides a great overview of computer science or Xccelerate, which provides part-time and full-time courses in person.

 

#3 Improve Your Soft Skills

Meet and talk to people in the industry. Do you have a friend in the field, or can anyone recommend you to someone? Meet that person for a coffee and talk to them about the latest trends in the industry. Ask them to introduce you to 2-3, more people and this will quickly grow your confidence and your network. If you struggled in the previous section to identify areas to focus on with your idea, then this is the time to ask people to help you identify what you need to learn.

 

#4 Research Your Idea

There is no point spending the next six months on what you think is a great idea only to discover that there is no actual demand for it in the real world. Engage with your target audience to find out what is missing in their field and where the opportunities are. Try to meet people in person as much as you can but remember that you can also do a lot of this online as well there are loads of focused Facebook groups you can join to get started.

 

#5 Figure Out Your Motivation

First, you must understand that starting a company is long term commitment. Forget any ideas of building up a company in two years and then selling it at a large profit. This is just not practical unless you are an experienced entrepreneur. You must be in the mindset that if this company is successful, it may take up the next decade of your life at least.

Hence money is simply not a sufficient motivator to make your company successful. That is not to say that money should not motivate you, but if you do not enjoy what you are doing, then you will not have the willpower to push through hard times (and things will get hard). So, whilst you might have plenty of money-making schemes in your head, make sure the one you pick is one that you can stick out for the next 5 to 10 years.

 

#6 Build An MVP

A minimum viable product is basically a functioning version of your idea stripped back to the bare minimum. This does not need to look pretty or even function perfectly. It only needs to serve as a validation that your idea can work and be successful. There are a few ways you can build this out.

  1. You can build it yourself, using your newfound technology skills. Potentially build it as the final project for one of these online courses.
  2. Partner with someone tech-savvy. There are a lot of tech-savvy people that lack the soft skills necessary for running a business. They will need you just as much as you need them.
  3. Hire out the building of an MVP to a Digital Creative Agency. This will not cost as much as you may think since you only need the barebones of an application to be built, rather than a fully developed and tested application.

 

#7 Start The Company

You will never get anywhere unless you have the courage to take risks. Get started by incorporating a company and the impetus will carry you along. In Hong Kong there are a variety of things you need to consider:

  • Choose a Company Name: Check to see if another company has already taken it in the Companies Registry (icris.cr.gov.hk).
  • Find a company secretary: They must be someone independent from yourself and they must reside in Hong Kong. Choose a reliable friend or family member that can help you.
  • Fill in the forms and get registered. Ask a friend who has started a company before, read some of the tutorials online, or outsource it. To start a limited company, you will normally need the following three things:
    1. NNC1: A form that outlines the company name, directors, shares and address.
    2. IRBR1: A simple form that gives notice to the Business Registry
    3. Articles of Association: You can use the sample copies available from the E-registry website.

 

#8 Get An Online Presence

In the modern world, businesses that do not have a strong online presence tend to suffer. Most customers will research your business on the internet before they decide to do any kind of business with you. Let us get you set up with some steps:

  • Register a domain name for your company. Check the provides GoDaddy, NameCheap or HostGator to see what is available. Note that .com, .com.hk, and .net websites tend to provide your business with an air of legitimacy.
  • Set up email accounts through the same provider. I would recommend getting an email for each director and a general info address as well.
  • Set up a website. Look for YouTube videos about setting up a simple WordPress website for your company (the above providers will integrate with WordPress). WordPress is free and open-source so there is plenty of support and templates to help you. Consider getting your website professionally made as it will become synonymous with your brand and is generally considered one of the best ROI that a start-up can make.
  • Start your social media pages and keep them updated! Choose some of the following: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. Try to post at least every two days on one of the accounts to gain more support and followers. Research social media strategies online and come up with a marketing plan, or simply outsource it to a Digital Creative Agency and let them handle it.

 

#9 Complete Your Company Admin

Now that you have started your company and set up your online presence, now you need to get into the day to day running of the business. There are few things you need to keep track of:

  • Start maintaining your financial records. Start recording all your costs and start keeping your receipts. Get an Excel spreadsheet going that tracks all your company spending daily.
  • Get business cards: You can get some cheap ones for about HK $400 to $600. Google some free templates online.
  • Download relevant contract templates: Google some free templates for contracts related to your business or get a free trial at Bonsai to generate some.
  • Get a company bank account: This will be hard to get from bigger banks in Hong Kong but NEAT will provide start-ups with a company bank account.
  • Build a slide deck: This is a PowerPoint of about 10-20 slides outlining why your company is brilliant. You can google examples of companies like Airbnb, Uber and Facebook.

 

#10 Start Pitching!

Not having the money is also no excuse not to start a business. All the above points can allow you to start your own business for as little as HK $2500.

But if you need more cash to further scale up your business, there are various government grants like the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund, Innovation and Technology Fund for Better Living and the DesignSmart Initiative.

There are also over 1600 start-up accelerators in Hong Kong, such as Beatatron and Brinc. What these grants and accelerators require is a slide deck and an MVP. Two things you should already have by this point!

 

Conclusion

And from there on out, the onus is on you! Come up with a good plan and work on it, but never be afraid to throw out the plan if other opportunities come your way. Speak to any entrepreneur, and you will find that starting a company will have had twists and turns that you never expected or predicted. It will be on you to navigate them as is best for your company.

If you are thinking about starting a company and want some advice or assistance, then reach out to us at RH-Studio for a chat. We aim to help a new generation of people to become their own technological entrepreneurs.

Categories
Media Services Media Studio Photo Shooting

Five Basic Steps For Setting Up Studio Photography

In Hong Kong, photography is prolific. One can see fashion shoots by the harbor, on the streets, and on top of mountains. And yet most enthusiasts tend to find the prospect of working with a photography studio to be a daunting experience. We are here to demystify the experience and break down the five key points to keep your eye on if you are just starting to learn about using a studio.

 

#1 Think About Your Backdrop

White is typically the assumed colour of choice but requires a heavy amount of lighting to truly make the backdrop appear white, otherwise it will appear as a dull grey. Darker colours tend to work best when doing studio photography as they require less set-up and provide much more contrast to your subject. Obviously ensure that you are using a green screen if you are looking to mask out your background in Photoshop afterwards.

Always think about the context of your photo and what you are trying to achieve. And make sure that if you have a White background that you do not trample all over it with dirty shoes!

 

#2 Select Your Light Sources

This will depend upon what you are using the studio for. Soft-boxes diffuse light so that the shadows on your model feel soft and more natural. For photography, these light sources are typically attached to triggers connected to your camera such that they only go off when the photo is taken. For video however you will want to use continuous lighting so that your subject is always illuminated throughout the video. Strobe lighting is less common and is typically associated with fashion shoots.

Arrange your lighting to avoid any areas of intense shadow. For example, in a portrait shoot you would have two lights set up facing forwards on either side of the camera, these should be slightly higher that eye level to illuminate the subject from above. A reflector panel low down can help to fill in some of the shadows under the nose and chin.

 

#3 Figure Out Your Model

Remember that studio photography is quite different from landscapes, interiors…etc. In a studio you are in control and you must design all aspects of the shoot. Make sure that you get to know your model as this will help to break the ice and get them to relax, showing that you value them as a human being rather than a canvas.

Then ensure that you are clear and specific about the pose and the outfit that you want but be open to collaboration. And lastly make sure you choose the correct model for the shoot, if you want specific poses or shoots then make sure you get models that are experienced / comfortable in those shoots.

 

#4 Using The Camera

Now that your scene is ready you must set up your camera and work out the composition of the photo. Remember that most photos work best on a rule of thirds, where key elements are placed on the intersections of an imaginary grid of thirds. If you have several subjects in the composition, then ensure you provide a sense of depth with foreground and background.

Ensure that you camera is set to the correct settings. You will want to save RAW formats for post-production later (never undervalue that). You can set your camera on a tripod for more consistent images or do it by hand to get more creative. But for level shots it is best to position your camera such that it is at the same eye level as he subject.

A good starting point for the rest of your settings is an aperture below 6, a shutter speed of 1/200 and an iso of about 100-200. The shutter speed is important here as it will have to sync to your studio lights if you are doing portrait photography, 1/200 tends to be a good level to keep them in sync.

 

#5 Get Creative

Disregard all the previous advice if it does not work for you! This is just a starting point and the fun of photography / videography is adding your own style to your work so feel free to explore different ways of using the studio.

Conclusion

With the above tips you should be well on your way to becoming a professional studio photographer! Try making a home studio on a weekend and trying out some of the tips above. When you feel confident, book out a studio for a couple of hours and drag along a friend to act as a model. You may find that your services may quickly become valuable.

Categories
E-Commerce Web & Mobile Development

How Easy Is It To Start An E-Commerce Store In A Pandemic

For anyone unaware, an E-Commerce platform is an integrated platform that allows for several products to be sold online and helps to distribute a business’ products around the globe. Think of Amazon, Alibaba and Ebay as examples of successful E-Commerce platforms.

Because of the impact of COVID19, many companies are struggling to engage their customers, but many companies that are surviving are doing so by finding ways to innovate a E-Commerce store into their typical business model. In Hong Kong, many bars and restaurants have increasingly turned to online sales to sustain themselves. But how does one make the transition? We have a few tips below:

 

#1 Research Similar Online Stores

There are more than 200 million E-Commerce stores currently in existence (that is an E-Commerce store per 35 people on Earth) so there will be plenty of precedents. Choose two or three that you like and use them as the basis for your own store. These companies will have put significant investment into their user experience, something which you can benefit from.

#2 Find A Niche In The Market

Research what is trending in the market, many companies have piggybacked off the success of other companies. What is popular in the market right now, is there any product or service that can support or gain from this industry?

 

#3 Build The Online Platform

The look and feel of your online platform will be crucial your business being able to generate leads. Whilst nowadays there are plenty of tools to be able to build a website yourself, such as WordPress and Wix, consider looking to hire professional developers. A well built and functioning website is the greatest form of advertising your business could ask for.

#4 Consider A Mobile Application

Most people spend more than two hours a day on their phones and, especially in the younger generations, are increasingly likely to want to make purchases through a mobile application rather than a browser window. Consider who your target audience is and how they are most likely to transact.

 

#5 Market With The Help Of Experts

Good marketing can come very cheaply and provide a high ROI. Get professionals who know how to maximise time and value to promote your online store to the market. This will help to sell your brand name and provide feedback on the usage of your E-Commerce platform.

Conclusion

The E-Commerce market is only set to grow bigger in the coming years as customers show a preference for the ease of shopping online. If you want to be able to tap into this enormous potential then consider looking to add an online platform to your business. If you want some further advice, feel free to drop us a message for some added tips.

Categories
Mobile Development Web & Mobile Development

Four Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Mobile Application

Just 30 years ago we would never have imagined the extent to which technology would be able to fit in the palm of our hand. Nowadays mobile phones enable us to be connected to the world 24/7 and they have become integral to how we do business. We use mobile applications to such an extent that they dominate the fields of online shopping, communication and entertainment. So if your company, whether new or old, lacks a mobile application, here are a few key bits of information for why you should be interested in building one.

 

#1 There Are 14 Billion Mobile Devices Worldwide In 2020

If you want to come up with a new idea and spread it around the world quickly, mobile applications are the way forward. The number of mobile applications is exponentially increasing in the world and is set to reach nearly 18 billion by 2024.

Especially if you are targeting a younger demographic, you will find that your consumers are increasingly more likely to want to transact online rather than traditional B2B buyers.

 

#2 More Than 80% Of Mobile Minutes Are Spent Using Apps

People love to use applications! Compared to the often-clunky nature of web browsing on phones, apps allow businesses to have greater control of the user experience leading to a more positive outlook.

In today’s digital sphere, whoever can engage clients more often and most frequently will win the most consumers. Hence, a lack of mobile optimization will often be seen as a massive negative in a brand’s favour.

 

#3 Statistics Show That People Spend More Than Three Hours A Day On Their Mobile Device

This is hardly surprising, nearly every activity we can think of now has a mobile equivalent to cater to the on-going needs of markets, conventions and information.

But whilst the majority of this time is spent on a limited number of applications, it isn’t hard for a user to unlock their phone and scan their device for other applications. Simply by being installed on a user’s mobile, your company is subconsciously being recorded by users as it is pops up.

 

#4 Mobile Applications Can Still Be Built Cheaply

All mobile applications are not equal but we can give a rough guide to the costs of building an application.

  • A basic application with efficient functionality would cost roughly $5000-$7000USD on development.
  • A medium complexity app costs from $7000-$10000USD on development
  • A complex time-consuming app in most cases exceeds $12000USD on development

 

Conclusion

A mobile application may not be suitable for every business, but you should give it a good consideration before dismissing the idea. In the age of COVID19 the most successful businesses are those that have learned to adapt and move to an online distribution. An application will help to promote your brand, engage more users and provide statistics on where to go next.

You may believe that because your business is doing fine without a mobile application but understand that building a mobile application is no longer as difficult or complex as it may first appear. It may in fact be the most efficient way of getting your idea out and into the world. So what are you waiting for?

 

Sources

  • Statista: Forecast number of mobile devices worldwide from 2020 to 2024 (in billions)
  • SmartInsights: Over 80% of mobile minutes are spent on apps globally
  • KommandoTech: How Much Time Does the Average Person Spend on Their Phone?
Categories
E-Commerce Web & Mobile Development Web Development

How Much Business Are You Losing Without A Website?

If you are a small business owner or just starting a company, you may be able trick yourself into believing that you do not need a website and can get by with social media alone. Or you may be an established business owner that gets by fine on referrals alone and do not see the point of having one. Perhaps you are just not very tech-savvy and do not use a computer, so you think that your customers do not either.

The world is changing rapidly, as evidenced by proliferation of technologies that have crept into our lives in the last decade alone. Even if you have been in the business for several decades or several weeks, you will need to have a professionally designed and developed website if you ever want to grow your business. Let us give you five reasons why.

 

#1 Customers Want A Website

In an age of smartphones and tablets, customers do not trust businesses at face value anymore. In fact, 81% of people tend to research a business or a service on the internet prior to making a business purchase. So even if you believe that you can get by on referrals alone, you may still be missing out on plenty of potential clients who have simply not trusted your brand.

If you do not have a website, customers will quickly go to one of your competitors who do have one. A website acts as a 24/7 advertising tool for your business, providing content and information even when you are not available. A professional website will give your clients a great first impression of your enterprise and help you to position your company.

 

#2 It Provides A Great ROI

Used correctly, websites offer the best return on investment for any form of advertising. A website can literally reach anyone in the world provided there is an internet connection.

It has never been cheaper to produce a website. With the abundance of tools like Wix, SquareSpace and WordPress, a designer can produce a personalised and tailored website that looks good on any device. The relatively low initial investment will pay dividends in driving new customers your way and helping you to convert more of those existing leads.

 

#3 You Control The Narrative

There are various ways your company can get positive or negative press on the internet nowadays, from bad reviews to positive articles. But as you are never writing this content, you never get to shape how it shows off your company. A website acts a platform for you to shape your message and perception of your business.

Think of it as your online home. You get to control your web space and decided what get what information is shared and what is not. By clearly establishing your own story and your body of work, you demonstrate what makes your company unique and you increase the chances of your customers buying from you.

 

#4 Saves You Time

Time is money and you do not want to be personally communicating the same message repeatedly to difference people. By providing the details of your products and services online, you avoid having to talk to customers via the phone, email or face-to-face. This helps to increase internal productivity and gives a better all-round user experience.

No matter what product or service you sell, you can continue to share tips and advice on your website, helping to foster good relations and repeat business. Not to mention you avoid clients getting frustrated when they need advice from you outside of office hours!

 

#5 Social Media’s Reach Is Fading

Facebook claims that people are spending fewer hours on the platform every day. As a result, companies are increasingly pivoting their marketing strategies to building strong and influential business websites.

Driving consumers to your own website allows you to monitor your traffic, so you can target the most qualified customers to get the best ROI on your ad spending. You need to start collecting that data from early on, so it is best to get your website running early on.

 

Conclusion

And there you have it, five reasons why you should be leveraging a website in your business. They are a small but necessary requirement for businesses to thrive in the modern age. Don’t miss out on the opportunity, ensure that you are make getting a website your top priority.

 

Sources

  • Adweek, 81% of Shoppers Conduct Online Research Before Buying [Infographic]Business Inside: Mark Zuckerberg boasts that changes to Facebook have caused people to spent 50 million fewer hours on the social network every day.