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Startups are full of promise and excitement, but the flip side is that they are also full of risks and uncertainties. There are many great ideas that in one way or another never get started and, conversely, there are many that are questionable and that become massive successes.
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So the big picture is a headache: look objectively at a list of successes and failures, and you’ll have a hard time identifying one of the reasons why one startup would succeed over another. This is because there is not a single success factor; there are dozens.
However, even these tens can be reduced to the ten most critical. Here they are:
1. The idea
The strength of the founder’s idea may seem to be the main factor responsible for the success of a business, but this is really just a small part of the story. Take the example of Google, whose central idea of interactive web search was, at its inception, already implemented by dozens of competitors. But because the plan, execution and timing of the founders of Google were superior, their lack of originality did not cripple their chances of success.
2. The leader (s)
Leadership is important in startups. Leaders make decisions, define vision, and inspire people to work harder for group goals. Put an incompetent leader in place, and not only will high-level decisions be made less effectively, but the morale of the group could be jeopardized. On the other hand, a competent and experienced leader can transform even a weak idea into a successful idea.
3. The team
LikendisLikes are important, but they rarely do great things alone. Successful businesses employ between a handful and hundreds of people, and they are the ones who will maintain the business, drive innovation and achieve your high-level goals. Hire the right people for the job and you will never have a problem. Hire the wrong people and your best prepared plans could be ruined.
4. The capital
Working capital is important; so are your early stages of funding. Don’t panic if you can’t find an investor – personal and family investments are possibilities. And don’t rule out the possibility of opening a line of credit. Once the credit is secured, don’t forget to keep an eye on your cash flow: a bad move here could put your money in negative territory.
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5. The plan
The plan should involve more than your central idea. This includes your goals, targets, operations and more. Everything written in your business plan is part of your “plan” and the degree to which you researched and refined your plan will greatly affect your chances of success. The more you are here, the better.
That said, a plan has value only in its ability to execute. If you have a great plan, but fail to execute it, your entire business could be in jeopardy. On the other hand, if you have an adequate plan and execute it perfectly, you will have a solid leg to stand on and a key understanding of what worked and did not work from your original concept.
7. The calendar
Timing is important from a competitive point of view, and it has led many companies to prominence despite a chaotic and busy market at the time of their entry. When YouTube came on the scene, for example, there were already dozens of video streaming platforms. But because YouTube was launched at a critical time – after broadband Internet became the norm, but before any other streaming service became important – it had radical early success .
8. The response to the crisis
No matter how you plan or your level of work, something will go wrong. How you react to a crisis is much more important than how likely you are to avoid it. A poorly treated crisis is all it takes to submit a business, so think carefully about your response plan.
The way you package and market your business is important. An inferior branded product in a more attractive, exciting and unique way will always surpass its superior product which happens to have a simple and not memorable brand image. This point may seem superfluous, but it critically affects customers’ purchasing decisions.
Finally, the path you choose to grow plays an important role in how you find yourself. Grow too fast and you stretch thin. Develop too slowly and you won’t get anywhere. So find a balance and treat your growth carefully.
If you examine each of these factors objectively and can say that your business meets or exceeds their demands, it is likely that you are already ready to succeed. If you notice that one of these factors is weaker than the other, you will have the signal that you need to invest more time and resources in overcoming this weakness.
For some factors, such as timing and execution, this type of assessment may be almost impossible, but make adjustments where you can and maximize your chances of success.
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