Every business owner has experienced that eureka moment – the discovery of an idea that they believe is going to become the next multi-million dollar company. However, building a successful startup does not happen by wishful thinking. It does not happen overnight either. Many of the companies that appear to have succeeded overnight have usually had years of solid groundwork before hitting the goldmine.
Now you might be wondering, isn’t there a way to build a successful startup without all the hurdles? The answer to that question lies in how much passion, commitment, and hard work you are willing to invest in your new business. Startups don’t flop until the owner decides it is time to throw in the towel. The moment the drive to succeed is lost, breaking even and scaling is next to impossible.
If you genuinely want to build a successful startup, there are important factors to consider, many checklists to cross, and several ‘ts’ to cross. You need to understand what habits to adopt as an entrepreneur and what steps to take towards achieving the business of your dreams. Knowing and practicing these steps and principles may be the determiner of your startup’s success or failure.
It is time to ignore all the statistics floating all over the internet about how 50 to 75 percent of all startups fail and focus on how you can put your company among the 30 – 50 percent of startups that succeed. In all, you need to be practical and realistic about the targets you set for growth and try not to rush the process.
Points to consider before launching the business for a successful startup
Stay Positive and Progressive
You need to anticipate success and believe that you are capable of handling big prospects. You should never start a business fearing that you would fail. As an entrepreneur, you need to develop the right mindset and prepare yourself accordingly.
Entrepreneurship is not for everybody. If you have decided to launch your business, dress accordingly, note down your desire, the potential results, and take action towards setting things in motion. With passion, commitment, and willingness to take a risk, you will have a solid groundwork for success.
Make sure you are passionate about the idea
If you have decided to start a business, having a solid idea can be the most challenging or the easiest. One universal secret of successful companies is the founders’ passion – people who discovered the solution to a general problem and were prepared to invest their time and effort into the solution because of their passion. Without that drive, it would be difficult to push through the difficult and trying times, and they would have likely given up.
An easy way is to ask yourself if you really love the idea or you are pushing through it because you think it offers easy profits. Is the idea something that gets you ecstatic or excited? If the thought of making the business your primary source of living thrills you, that’s a great omen. Otherwise, abandon the idea and consider something else.
Hey, this is not to say you can turn all your interests into your business. No. It could be the idea of starting and scaling a business, too. For example, if you want to start a clothing line, you don’t need to be hyped up about the clothes – the main passion could be growing a successful and lucrative business.
The bottom line is that you can never go wrong doing what you love. That is necessarily the passion you need to continue.
Make sure the market is feasible
Yes, you have discovered a solution, and you are passionate about making it work, yet you need to stand back and assess the market. What are your chances? Assuming you manage to scale the business on the something substantial, what is the limit? And essentially, is that limit good enough for you?
Sometimes we all need a reason to keep fighting. Validation is essential for any successful business venture. You aim to solve a problem, but you need to be sure that there is indeed a need for the service or product you are offering. Without that, you are better off moving on to another idea. Conduct stress tests and interview people around you, and get others on the team.
You must have sufficient clarity on the extent of opportunity that lies ahead. Failure to do so is preparing your idea for failure. This is not to dampen your energy, but you have to deliberate hard on any business idea before putting in all your chips. Business building is different from having a day job. The process is something you have to be willing to fight for – for yourself and people working with you.
Evaluate your commitment from the start
Many entrepreneurs fail to realize the importance of commitment when starting out. Your business needs your full attention, and if you are not ready to give that, especially in the early stages of your business, it is better not to start at all. As stated earlier, entrepreneurship is not for everybody. You are either in or out.
A proven way to kill the morale of your partners and employees is becoming the CEO that is barely around. Once your team loses their motivation and engagement, the business is set on the path of failure.
Deliberate on funding
Giving your business your full attention is important, but all that is pointless if you don’t have a funding plan. Development is crucial, but make sure you allocate up to 50 percent of funds to marketing and promotions, business building, and focus groups.
If you have restricted financial resources, you need to know you can take things one at a time. Many startups don’t hire every department in the first couple of years. In fact, you may find yourself and a few employees multitasking in different roles until you are financially ready to recruit.
Prepare to evolve
Since many changes will occur to your company in the early stages, you need to learn how to develop and adjust according to the times. You don’t have to stick to a single idea. Besides, just because you started out with an idea doesn’t mean you cannot diversify your business to accommodate other ideas. You need to be versatile.
A great example is Amazon. The current largest online retailer in the world started out as an online bookseller. Their success story is mostly built on their willingness to diversify as their cash flow blossomed.
Discover ways to expand your business assets and prepare to implement changes as you grow.
Tips to note after starting the business
Make building processes your first priority
In the early stages of your company, creating company policies and guidelines – recruitment, individual roles – will form the defining strategy for lasting success.
You must document every process properly. This is beneficial in several ways – it will help mark out your daily responsibilities and streamline training and development. It is typical for policies and processes to change as you grow. However, having a clear outline of work organization has incredible benefits and serves as the evidence of how far your company has grown and developed over the years.
Customer relations is crucial
After you have kick-started your business, the success or failure of your company lies in how well you treat your customers. You need to gain the loyalty of your customers by making them happy – through quality customer experience. You need to find out what your customer desires are, as opposed to making assumptions.
To attain new heights as an entrepreneur, you need to connect with your clients. It is impossible to build trust if you do not have an interpersonal relationship. Acquiring customers will perhaps be your biggest hurdle after starting your business.
Don’t just sit in the office waiting for them. Go out there and meet them physically. Irrespective of how wealthy or influential you become, be meek and stay open to your customer. This will help you discover valuable information that will improve your service delivery.
Occasionally, follow up by reaching out to them. Create surveys and loyalty programs. By listening to them and rewarding them, you are showing them that you don’t care about their money only, you also care about their satisfaction.
Flexibility is important
Accept criticisms with grace and make necessary changes. While it is essential to believe in your original idea, you should never be too proud to accept your customer’s options and make modifications. Evaluate your target audience and find out what they want. Sort through their opinions and feedback and decide which would be the most helpful and beneficial for the customers and the company.
Never get too relaxed
Sometimes things progress so well that you may be tempted to get comfortable. You should never be satisfied with where you are. Instead, aim higher and find ways to expand your reach. Consider setting a goal of increasing your customer base by five percent weekly and monitor these goals through active supervision.
Remember, the number one enemy of progress is comfort.
Stay active in every department
Your attention as a founder will always be required during recruiting, funding, partnerships, policy-making and strategizing. The most successful companies have a leader playing an active role in the day to day operations of the company. Do not sit back and allow the managers to do all the work. Set a standard by managing your employees and creating time for them. Your employees are your company’s biggest asset because their satisfaction affects service delivery. With more happy customers, you are setting your company on the path to growth.
Patience is necessary
Success is not magical, and that breakthrough may not come for some years. Before you succeed and achieve profitability, you need to invest in your company and prepare strategies for continuous efficiency. Most companies attain this status in three years, yet some would struggle for relevance before getting the breakthrough.
Steve Jobs started Apple back in 1976 but didn’t get any significant recognition until 1984 when Apple developed Macintosh computer. Even at that point, they struggled with success until the late 90s when iMac and other consumer products were introduced.
Your patience and resilience are virtues your company needs to scale.
As an entrepreneur, founder, and leaders, you need to understand the difference between a brilliant idea and a great company. One will not work without the other. Therefore, put all your chips in and do not throw in the towel when things get hard.