Keep the Expert AT YOUR SIDE
Successful technology companies stick close to a tech pro from the very start.
By Ryan Richards
Just as the food is the main ingredient of a great restaurant, so, too, is the product of a technology company. With the pace of technological advancement today, tech companies can’t succeed without immediate and consistent access to expert technology developers. If tech entrepreneurs aren’t technology experts themselves, they need to identify those who are—and determine the best way to work together before they hang out a shingle.
FIND THE EXPERTS— AND KEEP THEM THERE
Any new restaurant needs to establish a reputation for food quality quickly, and the best way to do that is to hire the right chef or bring that chef in as a partner in the venture. That’s because it’s not enough to have a chef consult with your kitchen staff, teach your cooks how to make the entrée, and then move on to the next culinary gig at the bistro down the street. Diners’ palates demand different soups du jour. New recipes must be perfected. And not just any line cook can fillet the flounder. The chef has to be continually engaged as the restaurant flourishes to ensure the food stays consistent and the patrons remain pleased.
In the same way, a new tech business needs a steady, ongoing relationship with a technology expert. According to Lance Ferden, who co-owns and runs Integrated Database Systems (IDS) with his wife, Lisa, “You need to identify a technical expert before you start the project to correctly lay down a technical foundation that will ensure your product can scale and be flexible to adapt to future changes.”
Once you’ve identified your expert, let that person be the expert. Just as a restaurant’s bookkeeper wouldn’t attempt to whip up a soufflé, a technology business’ administrative staff shouldn’t be trying to write code for the company’s core product or de- glitch its software offering. In the case of IDS, Lance Ferden is the dedicated expert overseeing the technology development team, while Lisa Ferden handles the sales, marketing, and training teams. Lance explains, “The two roles (administration and technology) are full-time commitments and require different skill sets. A single individual is unlikely to have expertise in both areas, and even if they do, each area is too important a responsibility to do well if you don’t have 100-percent focus.”
SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIPS MAKE SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES
Just as a restaurant depends on its star chef to create a winning menu and then revise and invigorate it consistently, technology companies need tech experts to create their products and then keep them current to meet market needs. Entrepreneurs who are not tech pros themselves must be prepared to seek out and pay for technology experts to bring their start-up dreams to reality, whether that pay takes the form of hiring staff, extending a contract for service, or offering partial ownership of the new company. After that, the entrepreneur must keep those experts on board for the long run, beyond the point of developing an initial product, so they can quickly respond to technological developments and changing consumer tastes. Having an action plan to gain and keep access to the best technology expertise is the key to a tech company’s success.