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Sometimes it seems like everyone you know is somehow involved in a startup. However, despite their popularity, many startups struggle to ever takeoff. While every startup has its own unique challenges, you should definitely try to learn from those who have managed to find success.
Here are eight characteristics of successful startups that you should try to emulate.
Calculated Risk. Every decision has consequences. Successful startups are able to recognize potential outcomes and accurately calculate risk. Hasty decisions are never a good idea.
Persistence. Owning a startup is never easy. While most people recognize this, very few are prepared for the journey ahead of them. Successful startups are able to overcome countless obstacles and weather a seemingly constant onslaught of setbacks. It’s important to never lose your vision or passion. Persistence will pay off.
Customer Insight. Successful startups have an in-depth understanding of who their customers are and what they need. Intimate knowledge of your customer base helps in all aspects of your business. This is especially true for sales, marketing, advertising, product development, user experience, and branding.
Customer Service. The value of customer service cannot be overstated. Many successful startups have been able to gain traction because of their excellent customer service. If your customers feel valued, they’ll come back and become repeat customers. Exceptional customer service is hard to replicate, which makes it an effective tool for beating out competition.
Great Leadership. The importance of good leadership cannot be overstated. Even the most talented teams will struggle if leadership is lacking.
Valued Talent. Finding the right employees for your startup can be difficult. Unfortunately, many startups place too much emphasis on acquiring talent instead of retaining it. This can lead to a number of problems. Primarily, high turnover is expensive, demoralizing, and growth-inhibiting.
Positive Culture. If you want to win, you need to adopt a positive company culture. Successful startups are able to breed a positive environment throughout all levels of their organization.
Communication. Poor communication can be devastating for a young business. It can strain relationships between employees and between you and your customers. Ultimately, successful startups are able to overcome communication barriers.
Right now in the United States, 13% of Americans are either starting or running their own companies. Unfortunately, most start-ups fail within the first year. So what sets the successful ideas apart from those who fail?
While the differences may not always be clear cut, good ideas tend to share some characteristics. Here are eight qualities that set great business ideas apart from the just “okay” ones.
Impactful. A big idea makes an impact not only on your life, but also on the landscape of the marketplace overall. Will your business be a game-changer?
Simplicity. If your idea causes confusion when you start to explain it to other people, you may need to whittle away some of the aspects that aren’t essential. An idea that is too complicated will make it nearly impossible to attract customers.
Obvious, yet original. People will stop listening to an idea that seems played out. Your business should be unique and original, or at least an interesting adaptation of a startup that already exists.
Memorable. A great idea is not fleeting. If its easy to for people to remember, then it’s easier to carve out market-share.
Sellable. When you talk about your potential startup idea, it shouldn’t be a hard sell. People should already be interested in how your business can solve their problems. Even the most complex ideas should be an easy sell, especially if it’s a great one.
Non-Conventional. Many successful businesses were initially labeled as “non-conventional”. However, many of these “non-conventional” ideas and startups were able to disrupt the market.
Receptive Audience. This can come down to location and demographics, but your audience should already be engrossed in your idea. If your potential customers are already at odds with your business, advertising will be an uphill battle.
Exclusivity. It’s easy to open a business where you offer editorial services, but if your competitive advantage is something that is easy to replicate then your success will be short-lived. Your idea needs to be backed by something that only you can offer, and something only your ideal customer will understand.
Running a startup isn’t easy. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. An effective business partner can make a huge difference for you and your startup.
Before settling on a partner, we recommend that you consider the following:
What gap are they filling? There will be aspects of your business where you aren’t an expert. While this is perfectly fine, you should work to identify these weaknesses and fill the gaps. If selling isn’t your strong suit, align yourself with a salesperson. If you’re into the technical side of your business, find someone to focus on the creative.
Are they committed? Startups require a lot of hard work and time (believe me, I know). However, a good partner should be just as willing as you to do some heavy lifting. If they aren’t as committed to the business as you, you probably shouldn’t have them on your team.
Are they serious? We love someone with a good sense of humor. However, an effective business partner needs to know when to be serious. Fun and games can make your startup experience enjoyable, but they can also ruin your business. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance.
Are they a team-player? If their past is full of drama and turbulent professional relationships, it’s probably a good idea to stay clear. If they couldn’t work with others before, there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll eventually clash with you.
Do they ask questions? Like in any relationship, you can usually gauge someone’s interest by the questions they ask. The same rules apply with your business; if they don’t ask the right questions (or any questions), they probably don’t care enough about your idea.
Do they share your values and entrepreneurial spirit? It takes a certain kind of person to turn an idea into a successful business. Make sure your partner shares your values, drive, and passion.
What’s their financial status? Everyone knows that before getting married, it’s a good idea to know your significant other’s financial situation. The same is true for a potential business partner. If you’re bootstrapping your startup, you don’t want someone who will become a financial strain on your growth.
Do they respect you? You should choose a business partner who respects what you bring to the table. If they don’t value you or your expertise, then they also won’t respect your business.