How to launch a tech startup

Launch a tech startup

Fancy being your own boss? If you’ve got an awesome idea, you could totally do an Elon Musk and launch a tech startup.

Behind every big idea, is a team of hard-working people. And right up the back behind them? The person who started it all! If you’re the kind of student who’d rather scribble down business ideas than do your homework, then you might be suited to running the show – as the founder and CEO of your own company (er, hire us please!). 

But hard work isn’t the only thing you’ll need to launch a tech startup. STEM skills are a huge plus – particularly at the start when you’ll be doing a lot of the grunt work yourself. From that first light-bulb moment, to hiring a team, registering your business and counting your millions (*fingers crossed*), here, we hash out what it takes to succeed in the startup game – and what subjects could come in handy

7 steps to starting a biz

1. Light-bulb moment!

Not all brilliant ideas start this way. If you’re stumped, try thinking about the problems you face day-to-day. What would you pay money to solve? Start there and brainstorm! 

2. Suss out the market

What else is going on in the market? Who are your competitors? What could you be doing better? What does your audience want? Dedicate some time to market research before getting started. 

3. Make a business plan & get skilled

To make a business plan you’ll need to skill up in sales, marketing, budgeting, branding, building a website – and more. At school this means taking subjects like business studies, computer studies and maths. 

4. Secure funding
Er, who’s gonna pay to launch your biz? If it’s you – you’ll need to save up (and may need to keep another job until it takes off). And if it’s an investor? Nailing step 3 is key. 

5. Do the paperwork
Register your business – in Australia via the Australian Government Business and Company Registration Service and in NZ via The New Zealand Companies Office – and finalise any hires. If you’re keen to take on a business partner, make sure you sign a partnership agreement before you begin. Same deal with employees. Yep, even if they’re mates. 

6. Find a base
Working from your bedroom is cool and all, but as your business expands you might want to look into hiring a small-scale office – even just for meetings. Co-working spaces – where you pay a monthly fee to hot desk – are fun and affordable! But if you’ve got employees and clients living all over the country? Zoom, Hangouts, Teams and Slack will be your new BFFs.

7. Keep calm and carry on about it
Once you’re ready to roll you’ll have to start executing a marketing and PR plan to get your name out there! The cheapest way to do this? On socials! 

No office? No worries!

These HUGE tech businesses started in the most unlikely places. 

Canva: The founder’s living room

Facebook: A college dorm

Atlassian: A teeny apartment

Snapchat: At one of the founders dad’s places

Uber: In a cab

This story originally appears in Careers with STEM: Technology 2021. 

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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