How to Run a Cybersecurity Startup

by Saleha Jogiyat

The potential for entrepreneurship within the cybersecurity industry has piqued the interest of not just techies but also those with a general interest in what is up and coming. Getting involved in a blossoming industry early can mean big profits for business owners that make the right moves from the start.

The demand for cybersecurity has increased significantly which also means that you are not the only person with this business idea. Many can play, but few will win, and even a sure bet can fail. The best way to avoid joining the ranks of the tech startups that do not make it, do your due diligence on the front end, and figure out which business tactics align best with your vision and professional integrity to create sustainable success.

Educate Yourself

Being knowledgeable about the industry is important but what can set you apart from competition is also having firsthand experience working in it. This will help you to streamline your business plan and to build a team of professionals that fill specific roles that you know for a fact are crucial. Going back to school full time might not fit into your schedule or be completely necessary but consider looking into seminars or certifications that do not require as large of a time commitment but can provide you with a foundation of knowledge.

You can take out a student loans from a private lender to pay for college if a degree is the path that you choose. Do not be afraid of taking out student loans, they are an investment in your future and furthermore the opportunities and connections you are able to form during your schooling can have a significant impact on your professional outlook after graduation.

Pick a Specialization

The tech industry is so broad that the need to narrow down your specific focus is a huge key to success. Building up a reputation for being able to do one thing flawlessly is going to move your business forward quicker than if you attempt to be able to ‘do it all.’ By focusing exclusively on cybersecurity for IT and business professionals you make it easier for potential customers to find your business because your niche focus will match their initial search for service.

Cybersecurity is a specialization that does not show potential for decreasing in need as the industry evolves. With the emergence of every new tech gadget, website, company, or app, there will always be a need to protect against a data breach. One way to stay relevant is to breakdown your specialty even more and create specific departments within your business that focus on specific targets. Creating these departments within your cybersecurity startup is a way to be diversified within your specialization to have a greater potential customer outreach.

Do Not Sleep on Sales

Frankly put, your company needs to have a cashflow to stay afloat. Even if you employ the most brilliant professionals with the most experience, and best reputations, if your pricing model does not include both inside and outside sales, the risk of plateau, or worse, is impactful. Consider a business plan that includes selling both services and products so that you have a differentiation between money making methods.

By adding salespeople to your team, you are also giving your customers an opportunity to be educated on what they might not know or think applies to them. For example, many small business owners believe that due to their size they are unlikely targets for an attack but that is simply not true. A sales team will be able to teach these business owners about not only the risks involved, but the devastation a breach can cause to their long-term reputation, and how your products and services can defend them against these consequences.

Promote and Define Your Brand

Almost as essential as sales, is marketing an advertising. Getting your company’s name out there is an effort that must remain ongoing, you cannot rest on an original campaign to create sustainable success. In your business plan you have created a mission statement, so carry that them through to your branding efforts as well. Your brand represents not only what your business stands for, but how it is perceived by the public as well. Create a logo, build your web presence, get active on social media, and keep at it all. Tech shows, conventions, and seminars are also great opportunities to ensure that your brand stays recognizable within the industry.

Drew Allen is a financial enthusiast, seasoned blogger, music and sports fanatic. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter fishing and boating. He is dedicated to his 15+ year career in the banking, mortgage, and personal finance industry.

Cybersecurity stock photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

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