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Start Up Keys to Success

Start Up Keys to Success

It’s no secret that the majority of start-up companies fail within the first few years of business.  Starting a business is hard, and keeping it afloat is even harder.  If you have a new business, or are thinking of starting one soon, here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid common mistakes and give you the best possible chances of success.

Make sure you have strong brand positioning 

Before you even think about launching your company, you need to know exactly what you’re offering, who you’re offering it to, and what sets you apart.  Having a good idea that fits a need or desire for potential customers is not enough.  Good positioning within the market can determine the success of your company; you can have the best product in the world but if you’re trying to sell it to the wrong people, it is not going to work.  Do extensive research and industry analyses to determine how to best position your product before you launch.  It can be hard to recover from initially positioning yourself incorrectly. 

Make sure your potential market is large enough 

Speaking of positioning, wherever you decide to place yourself in the market, you need to ensure your pool of potential customers is large enough.  No matter how badly a specific group of people may want or need your offering, if there are not enough people in this group to sustain your business, you are destined for failure.  Again, background research is key here.  Before investing your valuable time and resources into creating a product or service, look into the size of your potential market to make sure it is viable.  If not, try tweaking or reworking your offerings to appeal to a larger pool before moving forward.

Enlist motivating and inspiring leadership 

It’s well and good to have a great idea and be able to implement it logistically, but without strong leadership, your company will struggle to stay alive.  Working for a start-up can have its ups and downs.  In many ways, it is more demanding than a job in a well-established company.  Furthermore, success won’t be immediate, so people working for you may become worried or lose faith if they are not seeing immediate success.  Leadership within your organization needs to be able to persuade your team about just how fantastic your company is and how much more fantastic it is going to become.  You need a team of individuals who are fully committed to your mission, and that starts with strong and steady leadership. 

Be prepared for mistakes and errors 

No matter how well-laid your plans are, or how thoroughly you have prepared for every possible outcome, things will go wrong in a start-up.  This is inevitable, and is not a sign of failure or weakness.  Manage your expectations: realize perfection is not possible and mistakes will happen.  There will be errors and there will be growing pains, and that is okay.  Then, when things do inevitably go wrong in some way, don’t panic.  Remain adaptable, flexible, and committed to your company and your mission.  Every obstacle will make you stronger and smarter in some way, so do not be afraid of bumps in the road. 

Grow at a sustainable rate 

It’s hard not to let the excitement of a period of success get the best of you.  One profitable month or quarter, and far too many businesses start trying to expand way too fast.  Slow and steady wins the race may be an overused cliche, but in this case, it’s a true one.  Expansion and growth are great, and definitely things every business wants to attain.  Growing too slow can be bad for a young company, but growing too quickly can be deadly.  You do not want your resources to be spread too thin in the early stages of your company.  Be patient, and make moves toward growth and expansion at a sustainable pace. 

Listen to mentors and those who came before you

Nobody knows it all, no matter how smart or prepared they are.  When starting a business, realize that you do not know everything and that you will need help.  Talk to others who have been in your shoes before.  Consult mentors and peers who you trust, and really listen to their advice.  It can be hard to see the big picture when you are too close, so having the advice of experienced individuals outside of your company will help you see things from a different perspective.

Build a buzz with content leading up to your launch 

From all the points above, it is clear you do not want to rush into a business before you are fully ready to go.  That being said, the one thing you do want to rush is building up your social presence and creating a buzz about your company.  There is no reason to wait until all the pieces are fully and completely in place to start creating excitement around your business.  Make people aware of your brand as soon as possible.  You can start collecting emails and contact information so all your interested customers can stay up to date on progress, launch dates, and more.  You do not want to wait until the day you are able to start selling to start searching for customers.  You should work to have a large interested base well before your offerings are officially ready to be shared with the world. 

By taking the 7 steps above, your start-up should be stronger and more successful than it otherwise would be.  Starting a company can be exciting, stressful, thrilling, and frustrating all within a matter of minutes.  By not allowing yourself to be swept away by the emotions, good or bad, and focusing on what is important for your brand, you can make your budding business a success!

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