Startups and entrepreneurs are fascinating words, and rightfully so, because these symbolize organizations and people that are driven by passion and not by convention. An opportunity to be your own boss, do something you love and change the lives and beliefs of people while doing so is a dream that requires commitment, hard work and persistence in every aspect.
Every now and then, we hear news about startups being shut down, pivoted or attaining greater heights (in rare cases) due to their business strategies, partners, mentors, investors, team members, demand, technology advancements, scalability, execution capabilities and for several other reasons.
Here I would like to talk about some of the factors that come into play for a startup to reach the pinnacle of success:
1. Passion and Vision
These two traits are entirely different, but required as a whole in the company leader(s). Of course you are passionate about your business otherwise why you would be doing it in the first place, but having a vision about the company for the coming 8-10 years is what is crucial for leading it to success. Go for something which is 'the need' of the market and evolve your business model to suit the requirements.
It's a saying that if you learn from your mistakes, there's nothing like it, but when you learn from the mistakes of others around you, it will make your life and business journey a lot easier, as you do not have your whole life to make mistakes and learn from them. Take guidance from your mentors who are already running successful companies or have had a taste of both successful and failed companies and are truthful to you. Their suggestions may not always be beneficial for your business model and vision, but having them around means a lot in your entrepreneurial journey. Take cues from all of them but do what you feel is right for your business.
3. Partners and Investors
Choose your partners and investors wisely as this is permanent and should not be left on chance or luck. Executing an idea and turning it into a fledged company needs funds for scalability and operations. Investors contribute a lot as they have spent valuable years on working with numerous startups (successful and failed ones as well) and will take your company to greater heights with their expertise.
Be frugal in your approach when you are starting up or may be always. You never know when some extra cash, that was spent in the past without planning, could come in handy. Money saved is money earned! It is important to have a strategy on what you are going to spend the money and how much of it should be spent.
One of the most difficult tasks when starting up is to build up a team that shares common interests with you and can dynamically get the tasks done. Good team members have a sense of ownership in them and it takes very less to guide them towards your goals and tasks, thus making your business run smoother. As you already have a lot in your plate to get done with, give them freedom to bring ideas and implement them if the shoe fits. Know your team's capability- they may be good in their core domain, but always keep an eye as to what extra they can do which will help your business and of course the growth of their own career.
6. Target audience
It's very important to know your target audience and their behavior while they are using your services. Capitalize on that and go the extra mile to benefit them through your business. Trust is the only thing that will connect your business to the consumers forever. Never be afraid of saying “NO” to your users when you think it is something on which you will not be able to help them much and your business as well. They may take it otherwise at the moment but later on will understand the constraints.
7. Data and Technology
With the world of science and technology evolving each day, it's necessary to adapt to the latest technology to serve your users better and understand their behavior. Data is the core of any business and integrating the right analytics in your business will help you run it better.
8. Speed and Focus
Getting things done in a quick manner will make your startup reach its milestones easily. There are tough times when your focus might deviate but getting it back to track aligned with your vision is what is required in achieving your goals. Self-control is the key to discipline and focus which leads to positive work ethics, which in turn lead to getting things done efficiently and effectively.
You should be able to figure out the right crowd for your business to sell. Whether it is friends, partners, and acquaintances or through conferences, it is mandatory to have social skills and passionately talking about your business in a simple and understandable sense will help.
10. Keep an edge over competition
It is important to know your competitors and always have an edge over them by figuring out the bottlenecks in the business process.
Plan your days, weeks and months (at least next 3) and keep working on it with immense passion, eloquence and efficiency to achieve your long term goal. Staying hungry is half the battle and the other half is sustaining the business. If you are true to yourself, your partners, investors and consumers, no matter what happens, things will fall into place.