Late last year BusinessWeek issued a special report on young entrepreneurs Young, Fearless, and Smart in which they reveal some of the habits and strategies successful young entrepreneurs are using to grow their companies. On the list are:
- Going offshore for inexpensive software development
- Telecommuting to work for owners and staff
- Getting involved with business plan competitions, business incubators, and networking groups
- Selling web-based software subscriptions to reduce the upfront cost to clients
- Using word of mouth and viral marketing over traditional advertising
Here are my experiences with these 5 habits:
1. Going Offshore
I have been involved with two software companies. At the first one my partners did all the programming themselves and did not have to hire additional developers before making a deal with a large California based company. With the second business we hired a few months after launching. We were very concerned about hiring overseas and what might happen to our code. We were happy to outsource graphics design and other smaller work but not the “guts” of what our company would be selling. For my current business I once hired a writer from India to write some articles for the website. I was impressed with the pricing, the speed, and the responsiveness… but not with the quality of writing. It just was not good enough to meet our quality standards. Overall I have not had great experiences with offshoring but would consider it again if the right opportunity came along.
I have hired some staff that telecommutes and others who work in the office. I have always found the interaction and energy levels to be higher when your staff comes in to work with you. It is much easier to bounce ideas off of each other and ensure people are working when they are sitting next to you. It is far easier for people to get distracted and focus on other projects when they are working from home. To be successful at telecommuting I’ve found that you need to pay by results. It can be hard to track employee hours when they work from home but you can measure results. The people I have on staff now who telecommute know that to get paid, they need to accomplish certain results. There is definitely a trade off when you opt for telecommuting and it does not work for every business but it can fit certain industries and lifestyles.
Tomorrow I will continue with the other 3 habits of successful young entrepreneurs.
What has your experiences been with offshoring and telecommuting? Do you have any stories you can share – pro or con?