7 ways to give your Startup a fighting chance

by | Jan 7, 2015

Every year we see the launch of the next generation of successful startups. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 startups will crash and burn, but my observation has been that those who do succeed do so for their own reasons and not because of some cliche laid out laws of success.

But as much as I loathe generalizations like the “If you only” and “the number one thing” ruts popular media has created, I do believe that those that have succeeded are the ones that managed to execute some or all of the methods outlined below:

A well-defined vision

A vision is a well-defined, but not rigid direction that a founder wants his or her business to go. It will be the major force behind an entrepreneur’s success and should serve as a sort of jolt whenever they feel like giving up. A startup also needs to envision how they intend to monetize right from the start.

Adapt

While it’s great for an entrepreneur to have a well-defined vision of the direction of his startup, the best entrepreneurs are those willing to adapt to new technologies without sacrificing that vision. Adapting to change can lead to major breakthroughs. During the early years, the startup might need to iterate their product or service a lot of times, until they are able to find the formula that works the best.

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Outrun the competition

It’s one thing to grow a company fast in a robust marketplace, it’s quite another to be expeditious in a flat industry. It makes all the difference when a startup is able to launch quickly or outrun the competition. Getting things done quickly is one of the reasons startups are able to reach set goals and milestones. Successful startups never delay the process of getting things done, and have to work as much as needed until goals are met, and having a committed team that believes in the vision and are ready to sacrifice really makes all the difference.

Networking

Networking is another reason for startup success. A founding team with access to influential people in the business is priceless and can open doors to partnerships and help in finding angel investors. Granted those kind of teams don’t grow on trees, but most great startups have an outstanding CEO who is able to work his or her way into any organization.

Bootstrap if you can

Too many potential entrepreneurs are letting the ‘funding = success’ myth stand between them and true success. Too many startup founders crave the validation of big-name investors and end up buying into the idea that getting venture capital somehow means their business has a better shot.

To bootstrap means to start a business without external help or capital. Such startups fund the development of their company through internal cash flow and are very cautious with their expenses. Bootstrapping certainly isn’t for every business, but it’s certainly worth considering.

Fund-raising

This is pretty obvious, but I’d feel stupid if I didn’t mention it. Not all businesses can bootstrap, and even those who can still realize, more often than not, that knowing how to hunt for investors is still going to be a necessary quality in the long run. Businesses can be and have been ruined because of inadequate capital. Successful startups are the ones that have sufficient capital to run their business operations.  The primary duty of a startup CEO is to be able to raise capital. Some good ways to raise money are through venture capitalists, angel investors, and crowdfunding (check StartCrunch), and getting them to believe in their vision.

Execution

Lastly, having a great idea is just the beginning and execution goes a very long way in determining each business’ success.  For this part, the experience of the team is significant as their backgrounds will help in making decisions that take the business closer to success.

Investors invest in the people they believe can properly execute, or even better, have a history of successful execution. Execution is making things happen, and for startups it almost always means making change happen, which is a hell of a lot more difficult.

Image Credit: Desktop Exchange

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Daniel Orubo
Daniel Orubo

Writer & Content Strategist.

On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

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