Paul Laberge is back with the final instalment of this series. Please shoot us an email via the link in the top left of the page and let us know what you think of this information and share experiences and ideas you have to survive the tough times.
Without a doubt, most of us are experiencing the most serious economic recession in our lifetimes. There's an awful lot of uncertainty that goes with that; everything from our retirement savings, disposable income and job security.
IT as an industry is certainly not immune to these worries and as professionals in this space, I'm sure the concerns I have are similar to those that you are facing. So, in stressful times like these, what are some of the things you can do to be successful and how can Microsoft help you achieve that success?
Well, to answer that question, let's take a look at it from a few different angles. First, there's the personal angle (i.e.: how do you make yourself more marketable and valuable in recession economy?). Second there's established business angle (i.e.: how can I make the business more efficient with IT?). Third, there's the start-up angle (i.e.: how can I launch a new business and make it successful?). Let's take a look at each of these angles separately through 3 separate yet connected blog posts. In this third and final post in the series, I will focus on Launching a Start-Up Business in a Recession.
Launching a Start-Up Business in a Recession
Yesterday a conference for Start-Ups called Startup Empire was held in Toronto. Microsoft was one of the sponsors of the event and my colleague David Crow, a bit of a rockstar in the Canadian startup community, was one of the organizers.
The tone of this conference was a bit different than your typical startup event, mainly because of the shape our global economy is in. That being said, it's interesting to note that the speakers at this conference see great opportunities for startups to thrive in a situation like this, but you need to be ready to fail, too..
My boss, Mark Relph, also notes some wise learnings for startups that are especially relevant in tough times like this. Things like:
- learn how to pitch an idea effectively
- find a good niche to grow in
- you can't go it alone
- an unusable solution is useless
- a smaller market can actually be better
I'd also add that finding the right industry vertical is important. For example, while anything is possible, I'd argue as of today that a startup focusing on the retail industry is gambling in dangerous territory. Launching a start-up in a more recession-resistant industry like healthcare or education (regardless of the economy, people will always need medical services and schools will always be open) may make more sense. Something to keep in mind.
From a Microsoft perspective, there's some exciting things that we provide to start-ups to help them build their dream solution. The first is BizSpark.
BizSpark is Microsoft's premier initiatives to help get start-ups off the ground. The details about BizSpark can be found in this document, but in a nutshell, it provides Microsoft software to build the solution, gives start-ups access to partners and other global support resources and visibility on Microsoft sites like StartupZone and the BizSparkDB which potential customers can use to view solutions that might fit their needs (i.e.: it will help you drum up customers).
Another resource, one that is not strictly for start-ups is the Microsoft Partner Programme (MSPP). The partner programme offers a great deal of support to companies building solutions on the Microsoft platform, including deeply discounted software in order to build your solution, free training only for partners, co-marketing opportunities and the ability to profile your solutions in the Partner Solution Profiler which customers can search to find solutions that fit their needs, among other things.