Startups are about as common in this country as… Let’s just say that, these days, it seems that everyone has one. But a startup that turns into an established, successful company is a bit harder to come by. Many startups fail because they lack some of the characteristics that successful startups possess. Some of these characteristics may seem obvious to many but if not executed correctly, it could mean the end for a hopeful startup.
1. Have a good business plan. A good business plan does not need to be a lengthy one, but make sure it is clear and straightforward. Detail the main things you feel your business needs to stay on course. Going into excessive detail in your earnings projections or statistics can set unrealistic goals and scare away potential investors. However, you should be thorough when describing the important characteristics of the company, including a product or service description, how the company will earn money and how the company plans to market it. Also, don’t forget to address your company’s differentiators. Tailor your plan to your specific company.
2. Know your customer. Find your target audience and tailor your product and marketing strategy accordingly. You should what your customers want, when they want it and at what price. If millennials are your target, then use social media; if it’s boomers, then use ideas/platforms that they have embraced and so on. Misunderstanding your audience and not communicating with them effectively can be highly detrimental to your success. Use what you know about your audience to keep them coming back. A great web or mobile presence is an excellent tool for this. Make your website or app responsive, user friendly and visually appealing.
3. Hire a good team. Working with people who understand the vision and who are as committed as you are to making it work is critical. Even if you bring partners or senior managers in later on, they must be committed to the company’s vision or you risk them bailing as soon as you hit a rough patch – then you are all alone trying to navigate muddy waters. Make sure both you and your partners are prepared for what lies ahead. It is also important that you discuss your vision thoroughly to be sure that there is no miscommunication in the original business plan. Occasional disagreements are common and are to be expected, but you need to work through them, remembering to put what’s best for the success of the company ahead of your own ego.
If you are able to commit to these three key points, your path to success should be much easier.
Image credit: CC by Brendan Riley