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What Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before Launching a Startup – ReadWrite



What Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before Launching a Startup - ReadWrite

Launching a startup is always exciting. This is your opportunity to accumulate wealth, make a name for yourself, innovate in some unique way, and possibly leave behind a legacy. But too many entrepreneurs end up failing because they were inadequately prepared.

Before you even consider launching a startup, there are many preparatory steps you’ll need to take.

Set the Right Expectations

Before you do anything, you need to set the right expectations. A combination of media attention and survivorship bias has led people to believe that launching a startup is a surefire path to success – and maybe even a path to becoming a billionaire.

Being overoptimistic can cause you to overlook important weaknesses and threats and be disappointed and frustrated when things don’t go your way.


  • While it’s easier to start a business today than it was, say, 30 years ago, there are still prohibitive costs to keep in mind. Depending on the nature of your startup, you may be responsible for paying for licensing, an office, employees, technological infrastructure, marketing, and more. If you’re not prepared, these costs could completely overwhelm your budget and make it nearly impossible to recover.
  • Failure rates. Some businesses explode in growth, becoming tech unicorns worth more than a billion dollars. Others make a fair amount on an ongoing basis, becoming a reliable source of income for their founders and employees. But half of all businesses fail within five years of launching. You need to be prepared for that reality.
  • Media stories often make it seem like tech startups skyrocket to success overnight. But the reality is, most successful businesses are the result of many years of hard work – including an entrepreneur’s previous failed attempts that serve as lessons for future development. You’ll need to prepare for a long, complex journey to be successful.
  • Hard work. Being an entrepreneur may seem like a lot of fun – especially when you get to choose your own employees and set your own work schedule. However, no matter what, you’re going to face significant hard work. You’ll be working long hours, often into the evenings and weekends, and facing stress from a combination of many factors.
  • Just because market conditions look a certain way at the beginning of your journey doesn’t mean they’re going to stay that way forever. Many tech startups fold because they can’t keep up with a changing market, new competitors, or other unpredicted factors.

Do Your Research

You should already know the importance of doing your research before starting a business, but many entrepreneurs skip or gloss over this vital step. You’ll need to dig deep into many areas of business development; for example, you should learn about your target demographics, the current competition, future prospects, financial models, and other factors critical to your success.

Objective data isn’t going to instantly make your business more viable, but it will give you something good to start with.

Write a Business Plan

You can’t launch an effective business without having a business plan in place first. Your idea may be brilliant, and it may solve a problem effectively, but does it have a reliable way to make money? Your business plan will force you to think through your entire business concept, modeling financials for years in the future and outlining the biggest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats before you.

This document will serve as a blueprint you can reference as you invest time and money in your business and begin to grow. It’s also going to serve as a persuasion tool, potentially attracting new investors or partners to your startup.

Build Your Network

Not even the most seasoned, inventive entrepreneurs can build a successful business by themselves. Most businesses strongly benefit from the help of a robust professional network. Through networking, you’ll meet potential investors, partners, employees, vendors, and even peers who can give you advice. Throughout the course of your startup’s development, these people will be indispensable in helping your business grow.

It pays to get an early start here. It’s much more beneficial to have a strong network and start a business than start a business and then build a network.

Find What Makes You Unique

Your business is going to face competition, no matter how original your idea is. There may be competitors already on the market, or they may begin to arise only after establishing yourself as a major player. Either way, you’ll need to find something that differentiates you from the competition. What’s something you can offer that other businesses like yours can’t? What’s your unique value proposition?

Don’t start a business without an answer in mind, or else you’ll face significant competitive issues.

Get Support

Hopefully, you’ll have a network in place by the time you’re ready to launch your startup. Otherwise, you’ll need to start reaching out as your startup begins to develop.

Pay critical attention to:

  • You may like the idea of starting a business by yourself, but even a single partner can reduce your fiscal obligations and make your life easier.
  • Investors can make sure your startup has the capital it needs to grow and become successful; they’re also great sources of advice and direction.
  • Your employees are the people responsible for turning your vision into a reality. Don’t skimp on the hiring process.
  • When your startup begins to mature, you’ll want a few eager clients in the wings to step up and provide you with income.

Foster New Skills

Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats. In the span of a day, you’ll take on responsibilities like accounting, hiring people, making critical business decisions, marketing, making sales, negotiating, making purchases, and more. You’ll also need soft skills like communication and emotional intelligence.

In the months and years leading up to your foray into entrepreneurship, it’s a good idea to develop some of these skills. See if you can land yourself in a leadership position, whether it’s in your job or a volunteering opportunity. Take courses to develop yourself in areas of weakness, and talk to people who may know more than you on these subjects.

Get a Marketing Strategy Together

There are tons of marketing options these days, even if you have a small budget as an emerging startup. But one thing is certain; it’s almost impossible to build an effective brand presence without marketing. Even if you’re relying on positive word of mouth and referrals, you’ll need some initial marketing to attract your first customers.

Some of the best options here include search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing, since they’re both relatively inexpensive, accessible to all businesses, and ideal for long-term growth. However, there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Come Up With Contingency Plans

Don’t forget the failure rate of startups. Even with the best-laid plans, there’s a chance your business will fail. You’ll need to be prepared for that reality with contingency plans – long before you start the business properly.


  • Personal financing. Your income may be unstable as your business begins to develop. Can your personal finances take the hit? Do you have another source of income you can rely on?
  • If your business isn’t growing the way you expected or wanted, is there a different business model you could pivot to? What outlets for growth and development are there for your business?
  • Alternate career paths. Finally, are there alternative career paths that could sustain you? For example, is there a different type of business you could start, or could you join an established company in this industry to gain more experience?

No matter how good your startup idea is or how original it is, these steps will be vital to maximize your chances of success. Entrepreneurship is often fun, and always stimulating, but it’s not going to end in success unless you’re adequately prepared.

Image Credit: Minervastudio; pexels

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach…preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee.


A Successful Digital Transformation Starts (and Ends) With People



A Successful Digital Transformation Starts (and Ends) With People

Since the onset of the pandemic, organizations across the world have drastically accelerated their digital transformation timetables to remain relevant and keep employees engaged amid changing market dynamics. However, many have failed to fully achieve the business outcomes enabled by successful digital transformation.

At a time when competition in every industry is stronger than ever, that’s a major missed opportunity.

The Reason Behind Transformation Failures

In order to reap the full benefits of digital transformation, it is important to align skills, operations, knowledge, and culture to leverage digitalized work habits and new technologies. Research shows that a lack of this alignment, or digital maturity, is one of the most critical factors in determining why so many organizations fail to meet their digital transformation goals.

The good news? Achieving digital maturity is well within reach for organizations that are willing to put in the work.

What Is Digital Maturity?

Digital maturity is the ability to adapt people, experiences, and businesses to new platforms and tools in order to maximize the value that is created through successful digital transformation. As your transformation ramps up, it’s vital to get a realistic temperature of the digital maturity within your organization so you can avoid common pitfalls.

The more mature your organization’s digital culture is, the more likely it is to succeed in full-scale transformation. Attaining digital maturity means your company can adjust to changes quickly, avoid costly technical delays, and see improved operations alongside heightened efficiency.

Putting People First — Always

So what’s the secret to attaining this optimal level of maturity? First and foremost, establishing a digitally mature culture requires a shift in mindset and the implementation of practical strategies. Organizations must prioritize people over technology and create an environment that enables both employees and the business to thrive.

The benefits of establishing a digitally mature culture include enhancing employee satisfaction and engagement, improving retention rates, and reducing attrition. A people-first approach also attracts top talent, particularly among younger generations who expect organizations to have digital maturity.

The Far-Reaching Effects of People-Centricity

By fostering an environment that values employees and leverages technology effectively, organizations become more attractive to prospective employees. And those that don’t prioritize this type of people-first approach? They will lose out on top talent.

Beyond the obvious employee satisfaction metrics, a people-centric culture promotes growth and encourages continuous learning, all while enabling employees to adapt to change more effectively. This agility drives innovation, productivity, and competitiveness in the digital landscape.

Evaluating the Characteristics of a Digitally Mature Culture

Let’s look at the ingredients that bring a successful digital transformation to life. It’s helpful to evaluate these four characteristics to see where your organization’s digital maturity stands:

Innovation: You should take into consideration how easy it is for your current employees to generate and implement creative ideas. It is critically important to foster a culture that truly encourages and rewards innovations. Make sure that you have the platforms and the resources needed for employees to contribute their ideas. And remember to “decriminalize” so-called failures. Great ideas require plenty of trial and error.

Flexibility: You will need to evaluate the flexibility of your organization and how well it adapts to change so you can determine if there is room for adjustments and if you have the ability to request additional time. It’s important to promote an environment that strives for successful digital transformation and an advanced digital culture — one that encourages employees to adapt to new processes and technologies.

Collaboration: Assess if you’ve created an atmosphere that is conducive to collaboration among all team members. Your organization should encourage open communication and knowledge sharing to keep everyone moving in the same direction. This extends to leadership as well; leaders should be transparent about the company’s digital transform strategy and be open to answering questions and considering new ideas from employees.

Continuous learning: Encouraging ongoing education and training in the digital transformation journey is crucial. Evaluate if you have the proper resources and processes in place to do so. You want your employees to regularly engage in various types of learning to ensure they have a clear understanding of the digital culture, processes, and technologies used within your organization. Fostering this type of culture also shows employees that you are invested in their growth, increasing satisfaction and the ability to attract new talent.

How Organizations Can Ensure Successful Digital Transformation

There are several strategies you can implement in order to make your digital transformation successful while prioritizing your people. The most effective strategies include the following:

1. Take a Bottom-Up Approach.

Your employees play an integral part when it comes to implementing a successful digital transformation. For this reason, it is in your best interest to implement a bottom-up approach and allow all employees to play an active role in the process right from the beginning. When everyone is onboard and rowing in the same direction, the destination becomes a lot easier to reach.

2. Recognize Your Current State of Digital Maturity.

It is important for you to assess how digitally mature your organization is. There’s no need to sugarcoat the findings. Be realistic. Determining the current maturity level among your employees can help you hone in on the organization’s acceptance and willingness to make the necessary changes. A great way to do this is to survey your employees: What do they want from your digital transformation? How are they engaging with new processes? Taking the pulse of the organization provides valuable feedback needed to make future adjustments.

3. Overcome Resistance to Change.

One of the biggest challenges to successful digital transformation is gaining buy-in from those who are wary of the transition. However, overcoming this resistance to change is key to ensuring you are able to make the transformation work. One of the best things that you can do to help overcome such resistance is to create a support system for staff and leadership. Create an environment of open communication where you can discuss how digital maturity can be viewed as an opportunity instead of a threat. Emphasize the end goal if necessary; the company’s vision is X, and improving digital maturity is the way to achieve that.

Make no mistake, implementing these strategies does take dedicated time and effort. But doing so can help to ensure your organization is prepared to prioritize and support employee engagement amid constant change. Following the above steps will do wonders for enhancing your digital maturity and, ultimately, make your digital transformation more successful. There’s no better time to act than now.

Herman Kalra

Herman Kalra is Chief People Officer (CPO) at CTG. In his role, Herman assumes executive responsibility for strategic and operational leadership for all areas of the global people organization, including organizational design, talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, learning and career development, employee experience and engagement, culture, diversity, equity, and inclusion. His focus is on building a high-caliber, scalable people organization while continuing to drive a high-performance culture.

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Unleashing Women Entrepreneurs: Boosting Global Economy



Deanna Ritchie

On 21 September 2023, the United Nations (UN) demonstrated its commitment to inclusive funding by highlighting the importance of empowering female entrepreneurs to achieve gender equality and stimulate global economic growth. This undertaking includes implementing targeted measures that close the gender divide in entrepreneurship, such as collaborating with various governments, financial institutions, and private-sector organizations to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to capital, markets, and networks. Moreover, the UN focuses on providing mentorship programs, skills training, and education resources to enhance women’s abilities in successfully starting and scaling their businesses.

Building a Global Infrastructure for Women-led Businesses

In collaboration with numerous organizations, institutions, and governments, the UN is constructing an infrastructure that offers a range of resources, mentorship, education, and access to financing for women-led businesses worldwide. This global endeavor aims to foster the growth and development of female entrepreneurs, empower women, remove gender barriers, and ultimately spur economic growth through diverse and innovative enterprises. By forging close partnerships with many stakeholders, the UN aspires to create an ecosystem that supports and advances the aspirations of women entrepreneurs, leading to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Economic Impact and the Sustainable Development Goals

The UN seeks to fortify economies, build resilient communities, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by supporting female business owners and advocating for inclusive capital. Promoting gender equality in entrepreneurship drives economic growth and stimulates innovation and job creation locally and globally. Furthermore, female entrepreneurs bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the marketplace, addressing a broader range of societal needs and challenges in line with the SDGs.

Innovation, Diversity, and Social Impact

The UN’s emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship signifies its broader commitment to promoting innovation, diversity, and social impact, which are vital in shaping a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. By actively supporting and empowering female entrepreneurs, the organization furthers its objective of bridging gender gaps and fostering a more equitable setting for innovation. This strategy fuels economic prosperity and plays a crucial role in tackling various social challenges and ensuring lasting, positive change for communities worldwide.

Providing Resources and Networks for Women Entrepreneurs

Through various initiatives and partnerships, the UN assists women entrepreneurs in overcoming obstacles, securing vital resources, and connecting with a network of supportive peers, mentors, and industry professionals. These collaborations and resources equip women with the tools and know-how needed to successfully establish and grow their businesses, thus contributing to a more inclusive global economy. By empowering female entrepreneurs, the UN is cultivating greater gender equality, innovation, and sustainable development worldwide.

Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls

By undertaking these efforts, the United Nations strives to accelerate progress towards attaining gender equality and empowering women and girls across the globe. Consequently, many programs and initiatives have been introduced to address barriers impeding women’s rights and access to opportunities. By fostering a more inclusive and equitable society, the UN actively contributes to sustainable development and enhances the living conditions for women and girls worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the UN’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs?

The United Nations is committed to empowering female entrepreneurs by implementing targeted measures that close the gender divide in entrepreneurship and collaborating with various governments, financial institutions, and private-sector organizations to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to capital, markets, and networks. Additionally, the UN provides mentorship programs, skills training, and education resources to enhance women’s abilities in starting and scaling their businesses successfully.

What is the purpose of building a global infrastructure for women-led businesses?

In collaboration with numerous organizations, institutions, and governments, the UN is constructing an infrastructure to offer a range of resources, mentorship, education, and access to financing for women-led businesses worldwide. This global endeavor aims to foster the growth and development of female entrepreneurs, empower women, remove gender barriers, and ultimately spur economic growth through diverse and innovative enterprises.

How does supporting female entrepreneurs contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Supporting female entrepreneurs contributes to achieving the SDGs by fortifying economies, building resilient communities, driving economic growth, stimulating innovation, and creating job opportunities locally and globally. Furthermore, women-owned businesses help address broader societal needs and challenges in line with the SDGs.

What is the role of innovation, diversity, and social impact in empowering female entrepreneurs?

The UN emphasizes innovation, diversity, and social impact to foster a more equitable setting for entrepreneurship, bridge gender gaps, and shape a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. By actively supporting and empowering female entrepreneurs, this strategy is crucial in tackling various social challenges and ensures lasting, positive change for communities worldwide.

How does the UN provide resources and networks for women entrepreneurs?

Through various initiatives and partnerships, the UN assists women entrepreneurs in overcoming obstacles to success by offering resources, connecting them with supportive peers, mentors, and industry professionals, and providing vital know-how needed to establish and grow their businesses. These collaborations help create a more inclusive global economy and cultivate greater gender equality, innovation, and sustainable development worldwide.

How do these efforts contribute to achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls globally?

By undertaking these efforts, the United Nations strives to accelerate progress towards attaining gender equality and empowering women and girls across the globe. Numerous programs and initiatives have been introduced to address barriers impeding women’s rights and access to opportunities. By fostering a more inclusive and equitable society, the UN actively contributes to sustainable development and enhances the living conditions for women and girls worldwide.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by KoolShooters; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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AI Agents: Adapting to the Future of Software Development



AI Agents: Adapting to the Future of Software Development

In the near future, AI agents like Pixie from GPTConsole, Codeinterpreters from OpenAI, and many others are poised to revolutionize the software development landscape. They promise to supercharge mundane coding tasks and even autonomously build full-fledged software frameworks. However, their advanced capabilities bring into question the future role and relevance of human developers.

As these AI agents continue to proliferate, their efficiency and speed could potentially diminish the unique value human developers bring to the table. The rapid rise of AI in coding could alter not just the day-to-day tasks of developers but also have long-term implications for job markets and educational systems that prepare individuals for tech roles. Nick Bostrom raises two key challenges with AI.

The first, called the ‘Orthogonality Thesis,’ suggests that an AI can be very smart but not necessarily share human goals. The second, known as the ‘Value Loading Problem,’ highlights how difficult it is to teach an AI to have human values. Both these ideas feed into a more significant issue, the ‘Problem of Control,’ which concerns the challenges of keeping these increasingly smart AIs under human control.

If not properly guided, these AI agents could operate in ways that are misaligned with human objectives or ethics. These concerns magnify the existing difficulties in effectively directing such powerful entities.

Despite these challenges, the incessant launch of new AI agents offers an unexpected silver lining. Human software developers now face a compelling need to elevate their skillsets and innovate like never before. In a world where AI agents are rolled out by the thousands daily, the emphasis on humans shifts towards attributes that AI can’t replicate—such as creative problem-solving, ethical considerations, and a nuanced understanding of human needs.

Rather than viewing the rise of AI as a threat, this could be a seminal moment for human ingenuity to flourish. By focusing on our unique human strengths, we might not just coexist with AI but synergistically collaborate to create a future that amplifies the best of both worlds. This sense of urgency is heightened by the exponential growth in technology, captured by Ray Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns.”

  • Biological Evolution
    • Simple forms to Complex forms: Billions of years
    • Complex forms to Humanoids: Hundreds of millions of years
  • Cultural Evolution
    • Hunter-gatherers to Agricultural societies: Thousands of years
    • Agricultural societies to Industrial societies: A few centuries
  • Language Evolution
    • Pictographic languages to Alphabetic languages: Thousands of years
    • Alphabetic languages to Digital languages (internet): Decades
  • Technology Evolution
    • Walking to Horse Riding: Thousands of years
    • Horse Riding to Cars: A few centuries
  • Information Technology
    • Mainframe computers to Personal computers: Decades
    • Personal computers to Smartphones: Less than a decade
  • Genetic and Biomedical Technology
    • Early DNA sequencing to First complete human genome: Decades
    • First complete human genome to Rapid and affordable genome sequencing: Few years
  • AI in Natural Language Processing
    • 1.5 billion parameters (GPT-2, 2019) to 175 billion parameters (GPT-3, 2020): Increased by more than 100 times in just one year
  • AI in Image Recognition
    • Error rates fell from above 25% (2011) to below 3% (2017): Decreasing errors by more than eight times in six years
  • AI in Game Playing
    • From human-trained AI winning Go championship (AlphaGo, 2016) to AI teaching itself to master Go, chess, and shogi (AlphaZero, 2017): Significant jump in autonomous learning ability in just one year

The ‘Law of Accelerating Returns’ by Ray Kurzweil intensifies the urgency, indicating that AI advancements will not only continue but accelerate, drastically shortening our time to adapt and innovate. The idea is simple: advancements aren’t linear, but accelerate over time.

For instance, simple life forms took billions of years to evolve into complex ones, but only a fraction of that time to go from complex forms to humanoids. This principle extends to cultural and technological changes, like the speed at which we moved from mainframe computers to smartphones. Such rapid progress reduces our time to adapt, echoing human developers’ need to innovate and adapt swiftly. The accelerating pace not only adds weight to the importance of focusing on our irreplaceable human attributes but also amplifies the urgency of preparing for a future dominated by intelligent machines.

The “Law of Accelerating Returns” not only predicts rapid advancements in AI capabilities, but also suggests a future where AI becomes an integral part of scientific discovery and artistic creation. Imagine an AI agent that could autonomously design new algorithms, test them, and even patent them before a human developer could conceptualize the idea. Or an AI that could write complex music compositions or groundbreaking literature, challenging the very essence of human creativity.

This leap could redefine the human-AI relationship. Humans might transition from being ‘creators’ to ‘curators,’ focusing on guiding AI-generated ideas and innovations through an ethical and societal lens. Our role may shift towards ensuring that AI-derived innovations are beneficial and safe, heightening the importance of ethical decision-making and oversight skills.

Yet, there’s also the concept of “singularity,” where AI’s abilities surpass human intelligence to an extent where it becomes unfathomable to us. If this occurs, our focus will pivot from leveraging AI as a tool to preparing for an existence where humans are not the most intelligent beings. This phase, while theoretical, imposes urgency on humanity to establish an ethical framework that ensures AI’s goals are aligned with ours before they become too advanced to control.

This potential shift in the dynamics of intelligence adds another layer of complexity to the issue. It underlines the necessity for human adaptability and foresight, especially when the timeline for such dramatic changes remains uncertain.

So, we face a paradox: AI’s rapid advancement could either become humanity’s greatest ally in achieving unimaginable progress or its biggest existential challenge. The key is in how we, as a species, prepare for and navigate this rapidly approaching future.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Pexels; Thank you!

Hari Gadipudi

I’m an AI engineer and the founder of a pioneering startup in the AI agent development space. My critical approach to analyzing the impact of AI on human developers has been deeply influenced by key works in the field. My reading list spans from Nick Bostrom’s “Superintelligence” to “The Age of Em” by Robin Hanson. Through my writings, I aim to explore not just the capabilities of AI, but also the ethical and practical implications it brings to the world of software development.

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