Many startups end up failing. The ratio of successful startups can be estimated at something around 15 percent to 20 percent of all the ventures established. Given the low ratio of success, it is very likely that first startups launched might end up nowhere. Yet, where failure comes, success will follow – it is the experience the startup founders gain that is important. Learning by doing as well as working together with business advisors and mentors gives founders a set of skills and know-how that makes it easier to smoothly launch their next projects in the future.
To increase the likeliness of your startup to thrive in the competition against the giants, it is important to follow the steps of other entrepreneurs who have succeeded – and of course you need some sparks of your own creativity too. By learning from successful entrepreneurs, you can minimise the mistakes during a startup development. So what are major aspects that need to be focused on? Here they are, as told by most of successful startup founders:
1- Building a strong and committed team
Every business project needs a strong team and support. Without a solid team, startups might not flourish. It is the number one thing you need to consider before moving on to the next plan of launching your business. The founding team of a startup should have the skill-set and motivation to work together and achieve the common goals. It is always recommended to combine teams out of the people who are different. The people who have different experiences, different knowledge and even different cultural backgrounds. The ideal teams of startups definitely combine the roles of business developer, engineering or technology professional, marketing and sales specialist and product or service development specialist. The roles, of course, can be a bit different, depending on the core of your product or service.
2- Knowing and understanding the market trends
If you are launching a tech-related startup, it is important to foresee and understand the going trends in the sector. There are plenty of research papers, reports, intellectual property material and other documents available to see if an idea or concept fits in the habits and trends of customer behaviour.
Among the most popular publishers of technology and market trends are: Gartner (technology and hype data), Startup Genome (startup trends facilitator), Nielsen (customer and markets insight provider), and NPD Group (market research). There are also intellectual property registers available for browsing and plenty of national studies on different countries. In order to test your idea quickly and find whether it suits the ecosystem and fits the global trends, it is crucial to do the basic research and/or study researches that are already published.
See also: 3 Questions to Answer Before Hiring People at Your Startup
3- Making constant changes
Startups don’t have fixed products or services, fixed business models or fixed target groups. Everything is likely to change over time, over the experiences gained from the market. Typically, startups will continue to draw their business and action plans, and founders should always be ready to review and change the plans, even with weekly intervals. That is the main reason why startups work in sprints and use lean development models. If the development proved to be successful (customers and market reacted on that and positive traction could be measured) then the final model will be developed and launched.
Fixing the product, service or business model too soon (before it is confirmed in real market conditions) can lead to enormous risks of running out the resources. For instance, when you have spent 6 months to develop a product without any initial testament and the market rejects the product when it’s finally launched, it means you and your team wasted 6 months worth of working hours and money. Small achievements and quick tests prevent that from happening.
4- Working with mentors and advisors
Startup community is closely tied together regionally and globally. There are plenty of field-specific experts, serial entrepreneurs, universities, business incubators, accelerators available that are willing to help you. These professionals have seen many projects like yours, they have worked with the market you’d like to enter, they have failed doing what you want to do and they are keen to share their expertise. Startup founders should find a team of mentors and advisors based on the development plans and challenges that they are facing.
5- Measuring the program
When you are working with different challenges simultaneously, it is hard to keep an eye on the progress you are making. This is why startup companies are using metrics – tools and systems to measure their performance. Tracking the performance helps founders to keep a pulse on the viability of the startup and signal when a course correction is needed. Normally if you cannot measure any activity or development on your products or services, it is probably useless and doesn’t have any impact on your future startup performance.
First and foremost, metrics help startups set goals. In early growth stages, goals are just dreams with deadlines and without metrics, it would be next to impossible to set goals and measure the progress towards them. Metrics also help entrepreneurs make smart, informed decisions about their startups. They can identify trends and patterns, problem areas and successes, and potential next steps. Before making major decisions like product iterations and raising capital, startups can consult their metrics. Without metrics, it is hard to tell how far the company has progressed. It is also hard to tell when the company is in trouble until it’s too late.
Read also: How to Prevent Startup from Collapsing