Gravit-e Blog

February 26, 2015

Getting Into The Startup Mindset

Business_viability_checklist

As custom software developers, we get a lot of inquiries from individuals looking to start new businesses as well as established businesses looking to branch out and explore their potential in other areas.  When we get inquiries from potential clients sometimes contacting us is their first step towards exploring a new business concept- before they have evaluated the viability of their ideas or secured funding.  As an honoured part of these initial steps taken by entrepreneurs we thought it would be prudent to put together a guide and resource list to help people through the process. As the first post in the series we will be discussing some general guidelines to approaching a new business.

Getting Into The Right Mindset

Stay Open Minded

Not all businesses start with a good idea. Many have started with a bad or another good concept that either improved through trial and error or led them to an entirely different idea. The mammoth franchise Starbucks did not begin with the idea of a coffee house, they started as a coffee retailer selling high quality coffee beans rather than drinks. It wasn't until Starbucks' employee Howard Schultz had an epiphany while visiting Italy that the coffee company began selling beverages. Your end point with an idea may end up being entirely different than where you started.  While it is impossible to predict exactly what your business idea may ultimately become, you can better position yourself for success by staying open minded, taking criticism constructively, and listening to the opinions of others that may add value to your ideas.

Think Big, But Not Too Big

Many entrepreneurs, particularly within the tech sector, are focused on a billion dollar business idea. Yes there are a handful of tech startups that have achieved billion dollar valuations faster than any other time in history, but you don't have to become a household name to be successful. Indeed you may be happier running a small to mid-sized business than a public company, and you may even make more money owning more of a smaller sized business than having diluted shares in a large one.

Take The Lean Approach

Running a Lean Startup essentially means launching a product as quickly as possible and spending as little money as necessary to do so. This approach is not just popular among startups, but also large businesses launching a new product or exploring a different direction. Many of our clients refer to this first version of a product as a pilot, though it is more commonly termed a Minimum Viable Product or MVP. The central concept of this approach is to get the product into the hands of the users faster so that problem areas and feedback can be obtained sooner.  The result is that less money is spent on planning and development and less time is wasted on developing a product in the wrong direction, and if the initial concept is going to fail it will at least fail quickly. This mentality is particularly useful for those with financial and time restraints.

Get Perspective

Many people are so afraid of their ideas being stolen that they guard their ideas and prevent themselves from gaining valuable feedback and support. While you don't need to announce your ideas to your competitors, opening them up to the potential mentors and colleagues can allow for great brainstorming sessions. As Edison once said 'Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration.' Even if someone does get some inspiration from your idea they likely won't execute it the same way as you, if at all.

 

Even if you are an established business who is simply launching a new product, automating business processes, or expanding implementing the mindset of a startup can help you save time, money, and get valuable feedback and insights.

We wish you the best with your new venture,

The Gravit-e Team 

February 17, 2015

Gravit-e Technologies Is Getting A Makeover

2015 marks a year of many exciting changes for Gravit-e Technologies.  We are getting a new look on all fronts. We started updating our website in 2014, something we are excited to be sharing with you very soon, and we are expanding our downtown Vancouver office!

Late last year we were given the opportunity to take over the office next door to ours, an opportunity which we were happy to embrace.  Soon we will be occupying both suites, complete with a renovation and interior design. In the meantime we are finding ourselves crammed into the office across the hall in suite #612.  Here are some snapshots of the reno and where we are at right now:

Gravit-e-office-reno

Despite our close quarters we will still be happy to welcome any visitors for a cup of coffee in our cozy space. It's going to be an exciting spring for us- we'll keep you updated.

Cheers from the Gravit-e team.

February 12, 2015

The Future of Vancouver as a Tech Hub

Future-vancouver-digiBC
From left to right: Mik Badminton of Freelancer.com, Romila Barryman of Vancity Buzz, Bryan Buggey of The Vancouver Economic Commission, Ray Walia of Launch Academy, and Jeff Heywood of the Vancouver Aquarium

Last night, DigiBC brought together five of Vancouver's technology thought leaders to combine their perspectives ranging from the community level to business and government. The topic of discussion was the future of Vancouver as one of the worlds leading technology hubs. The emphasis was on how Vancouver will accomplish this feat more so than when or why. The panelists identified many obstacles and attitude shifts necessary in order for Vancouver to pull ahead of the pack. Throughout the discussion three things became abundantly clear:

1.  Vancouver Is Attracting International Attention

Vancouver has reached a critical point where we have more eyes on our fair city than ever before, and it's not because it's a pretty place (though it doesn't hurt!).  We are garnering the attention of talent and investors alike and are home to a blossoming startup ecosystem.  We are no longer simply destination, we are a place where people see a journey, whether it's building their career working for one of our many tech companies, building a business from scratch, or catalyzing the ideas of one of our budding entrepreneurs. However, we haven't secured the spotlight just yet. 

"We can lose it-" Ray Walia, director of Launch Academy, stated repeatedly throughout the event discussions.

He drove home the message that we have to collectively seize the opportunity to make our city a 21st century digital leader. Doing so will require a 360 degree strategy that reaches to the top of our government and education system and permeates our communities.

2. Vancouver Poaches Talent

Other Canadian cities have voiced that they are losing talented developers and entrepreneurs to Vancouver's emerging tech hub. However, just as quickly as Vancouver attracts talent it absorbs it, leaving thousands of job vacancies in the tech sector and driving up the cost of hiring developers.

3. Technology Is Everywhere...Yet Nowhere

Technology is not only infusing itself into our lives through our cell phones, it's playing an increasingly large role in everything from education to business. Having a digital strategy is becoming an element of every business strategy rather than an optional add-on. It's a must, and therefore our schools and universities should be putting more of an emphasis on technology. 

But there is a gap.

On one hand there is now a generation of adults that haven't known their lives without the internet, on the other hand there is a generation that grew up before the internet became ubiquitous. Many of these individuals are our professors, teachers, parents, and politicians. There is a need to educate older adults on the importance of technology. Indeed, there is a need for the governmental systems and structures we have put in place to undergo significant changes in order to keep pace with the ever accelerating rate of innovation and globalization. 

 

The discourse at the 'Future Vancouver' event brought to light many actionable components of how Vancouver will become a digital leader and helped us at Gravit-e Technologies define how we see ourselves as one of those components:

We are the builders. As the scope, demand, and cost of talent escalates we will ensure that high quality, affordable, on-shore development remains available to businesses in Vancouver who may not require or have the means to hire their own in-house development team.  We hope to increase our collaboration with startups and make our team of talented developers available as the architects of entrepreneur's ideas and we will continue to help existing companies streamline, automate, and reimagine the way they do business.

We look forward to playing our part in Vancouver's bright future and watching our company grow alongside it.

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Gravit-e specializes in providing affordable, effective websites and web applications for growing companies. Visit Our Website