The electronic hardware business is huge and there are millions of new products being developed every year. This is also a field of business that is not the easiest to get into, though affordable and accessible development tools and manufacturing solutions have greatly democratized the field. E-commerce has also eliminated the need for a brick-and-mortar for startups, which has lowered the barrier to entry even more. Here’s how you can get into the electronic hardware business.
Get The Foundation
The very first thing you should consider is getting the credentials and foundation needed to be able to compete in this field. Those who are truly savvy about their business will always have a leg up on the competition. You should at least have a foundation in electronics or computer science before getting started.
If you already have a degree in computer science or engineering, we suggest that you add some feathers to your cap. One great degree to pick up would be a masters in data science. With a degree like this, you’ll have much greater insight into research and development. You’ll also be able to run a tighter operation in general. You’ll be better at managing and analyzing sales, marketing, manufacturing, and supply chain management among other things.
The great thing is that you don’t have to leave your home or have to worry about juggling studies with running your business nowadays. You could get an online data science masters and get your formation from the comfort of your home or wherever you are. This will allow you to internalize and use certain skills, techniques, and principles that you learn in your degree as you go. You’ll also become a much more well-rounded and respected entrepreneur.
Build a Team
You will also need to build a solid team around you, even if you have the skills. You need to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
You might have great technical skills, but don’t know things like sales and marketing, for instance. A large number of tech companies have a founder or high-ranking executive with technical skills and one that is a master salesman. Think Steve Wosniak and Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Finding people to join your team early on will be difficult, however, and you will have to rely on a lot of outside expertise at the beginning. So, you will need to fill initial skills gaps with consultants.
You want to hire the right consultants at the right time. They can provide support to build your initial structure and build a short to medium-term strategy. You can hire a consultant again when you are thinking of expanding. By then, you’ll hopefully have amassed the expertise in-house to do more of the work on your own.
You will also need to start looking at manufacturers and places where you can get your prototype built. Make sure that you go with teams with a solid track record and experience of working with smaller companies.
Identify or Carve a Market Niche
You now have to look at your market and the possibilities. You want to see if there are any gaps in the market. If you have a particular product in mind, you have to look at other similar products. You have to look at what they do right and what they do wrong. You want to look at their numbers and what type of margins you could expect to make selling around the same price point as them.
Another thing you want to look at is whether there is an actual need in that space. Does the world need a new gaming console, even if it’s a red hot market? Is that a spot you would have a genuine chance competing in?
In this case, if your goal was to capitalize on this huge market, you could have more success looking at peripherals, for instance. You could try to see which accessories are in high demand and have a better chance at competing in this niche. We also suggest that you look for a niche that will allow you to keep your production and initial costs as low as possible.
Look for Funding
Once you developed a prototype, have a viable proof of concept, tested it, and have a manufacturing budget and targeted marketing plan, it could be a good idea to start looking at funding capital. There are many approaches that you can take there, but the most important is looking for somebody that can not only bring funds but expertise.
Someone can easily become dead weight if they know nothing about the business. They might end up with a large chunk of the equity and will have nothing to offer once the money runs out. Not only that, but they might start pressuring you for results or not understand certain aspects of development. This could lead to misunderstandings and friction, and even suspicion in some cases. So, think twice about giving up equity and who you’re going to give it to.
Build Your Online Presence
Your online presence will make a world of difference when getting started. You most likely won’t have the money to start advertising like major brands or do a major media rollout. You will need to be creative and use the internet to your advantage.
Here, you will need to focus on things such as inbound marketing, social marketing, email marketing, and SEO. You need to have a solid content strategy that will not only focus on selling your product but your expertise as well. Besides, you want to start looking at influencers as they have a lot of pull in the tech market. If you’re confident in your product, try to find one or multiple influencers you think would like it. This could be all that it takes to start building buzz for your product.
The electronic hardware business is not the easiest one to get into and compete in, but it’s still one of the biggest and most promising out there. There are tons of opportunities for those with a viable product and a good plan.