The key to building a valuable tech company is identifying and solving a problem that customers are willing to pay for. If you’re able to find product/market fit and customers are willing purchase your solution, other competitors will rush to take a piece of the pie. While many entrepreneurs may view the challenge from competitors as a setback, you should see them as validation. In the tech industry, companies compete and partner at the same time, all the time. As tech consolidation continues and as companies expand their services, co-opetition is only going to increase, so instead of seeing your competitors as a potential setback — see them as an opportunity.
I agree with Ken that planning is of the utmost importance when starting a business.
Off the top of my head, these would be the items on my checklist before going ahead with a new venture. Kind of like a new business inventory:
Do I have the right values?
More than anything, I think to have the right values for your crucial. You want to build a culture that enables success. Take a look at my company's blog post about our core values to get an idea of how important these are to a successful business. http://blogs.workday.com/the-value-of-values-at-workday/
Is what I'm offering unique?
If it isn't unique, why would people want it? If it is unique, how hard would it be for another company to copy your idea and do it better?
Do I have funding? Or a plan to get funding?
Without funding, you're dead in the water. A great idea without backers is not going to go very far. If you have a plan, that's great! But be cautious, devoting your money, time, and energy into an uncertain project could end up being incredibly rewarding, or it could be a bad gamble.
What skill sets do I have, what skill sets am I missing?
If you've built the next Facebook but have no legal or financial background you would be wise to find partners who could take on other aspects of the business. Make sure your team is well balanced, and you have all your bases covered.
Am I in the right place?
Your network can be vital to the success of your product. Naturally, being located in a tech hub (SF, NYC, Seattle, etc.) would make networking much easier for you. Easier to find funding, easier to attend meetups about the tech you're using, easier to recruit employees and so on.
Is it the right time?
By the time your product is ready for market are there hundreds of others just like it? Or maybe the market isn't ready for your product yet and you'll fare much better if you try to pursue it in a few years.
Do I have long term and short term plans and goals?
This should be self-explanatory, but you want to set yourself up for success as much as possible. Setting actionable plans in motion and having both achievable and stretch goals will put you on the right track.
Hope this is useful.
So you need to be doing book keeping, you need to pay your taxes and there are probably a lot of other regulations you will need to attend (depending on where you are starting your company).