How Start-ups Can Create a Recipe for Success
90% of start-ups fail — if you’re considering launching your own start-up, learn from the success of others to create your own recipe for success.
It’s well known that the vast majority of start-ups will fail to take off, but some are able to turn their ambition into success.
What is it about the start-ups who manage to establish themselves that is different to the rest?
Are some just destined to succeed from the start?
If you are about to invest a lot of time and money into starting your own business, it’s certainly worth at least considering these questions and their possible answers.
There may be no one-size-fits-all solution for success in business, but there has been a lot of research around the topic, and some points appear to crop up time and time again. There are some key areas that all aspiring entrepreneurs should be focused on to give their venture the best possible chance of success. This guide explores these areas and how start-ups can create their own recipe for success.
1. Customers who want your product or service
The first step is to identify a need that is not currently being met or is not being met adequately. This will tell you who your potential customers are and help you to work out what product or service you could provide which they would be happy to pay for. The best-case scenario is that “the need” you discover is something you are able to satisfy in terms of your skills, experience, and resources.
Depending on the level of funding you have available, you may be looking for a problem to solve, which could scale over time, potentially internationally. However, if this is your first venture into business, it may make more sense to focus on a more niche market and product that is not dominated by long-established brands.
2. The right solution
The service or product you provide should directly address customer demand, so try to stay focused on that issue without a lot of extra features and benefits which confuse your message or devalue your solution. Consider the obstacles which could stand in the way of customers adopting your service or product, such as complex technology or high costs. The benefits should outweigh any costs associated with your product in terms of learning new technology, paying a higher price, or potential disruption involved in switching.
3. The right timing
Each market has an inherent expiration date or lifecycle, which means there is a limited window of opportunity for new brands to establish themselves before the market becomes saturated and/or the consumer demand passes. It’s easier to enter a market that is only just emerging, although being too early to market can also carry risk as you may be pursuing a dead-end market or one which will not be profitable for many years. In many cases, the most successful start-ups catch on to a customer need which has not been fully satisfied but other businesses have already done some of the work for you by introducing the concept.
4. An in-depth assessment of the current market and competition
On the topic of entering the market, it is often better for a new venture to avoid markets that are already dominated by a lot of other brands. It can be incredibly difficult for start-ups to compete with bigger or longer-established brands with bigger budgets, a loyal customer base and a wealth of experience behind them. The best markets are those which are fertile, i.e., some companies have already proved it is a viable business opportunity, but their solution is inefficient or inadequate. Another option is to target a stagnant market which is ripe for innovation where you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
5. A detailed financial plan
At its most basic level starting and running a business is very simple. You want a business that requires minimal financial input and generates maximum profits, all with very limited risk. It is rarely this simple, as developing a product and getting the business off the ground in the first place often requires a significant investment that will put you on the back foot before you’ve started trading. You will also need to consider cash flow and how much time could pass between receiving money and having to pay your overheads. It’s all about weighing up and managing risk.
6. A killer digital marketing strategy
To run a competitive business today, you will need to embrace the digital marketing world and if you have never experienced it before, you may be in for a steep learning curve. Even businesses that do not intend to sell a product online need to have a website that is user-friendly, intuitive and optimized for search engines. While in previous times, businesses may have taken a DIY approach to build a website, more and more are turning to a professional web design agency to build their digital storefront.
Once the website is up and running, there is continued SEO services, social media, search engine advertising, and content marketing to consider. It’s absolutely possible to learn about all of this as you go, but you will be playing catch-up with brands who have the budget and expertise to dominate you digitally. To give your business the best chance of success, you need to be prepared for digital warfare.
7. A skilled and dedicated team
Speaking of warfare in business, it’s often a good idea (at least in the early stages) to pick your battles. If you have limited resources in terms of finances, time, and team members, take a step back from marketing battles that you are highly unlikely to win. You should be conserving your resources for more viable opportunities down the line.
In the beginning, you are probably going to be short on skilled staff and will end up wearing many hats as a result, but often the most successful startups have some key people in place from the beginning. You should have someone who understands the product or service you are providing, as well as the needs of the customer inside and out. You should have someone with technical expertise who can create the product. Finally, you should have relationships with distributors or retailers in place as soon as possible to ensure your journey to market runs smoothly.