It’s obvious that entrepreneurs are in business to succeed. The goal is to create a startup with the agility and adaptability to grow and weather any storm. But how can this happen for you?
For startup success, an important ingredient is balance. On the one hand, to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to accept accountability for every level of your business. At the same time, you must be willing to learn from others. Successful entrepreneurship means you cannot allow the triumphs (like securing a new investor) and disappointments (like losing a customer) of doing business to distract you, causing you to miss out on growth opportunities.
In other words, the key to having a successful startup is maintaining control. One way to accomplish this is by being able to anticipate potential problems and prepare for them. Adhering to the principles listed below will enable you to maintain control of your startup as you set a course for growth.
1. Timing is critical
Poor timing is the kiss of death for many startups. One notable example of this was AskJeeves. People loved it. It had many of the features that Google has today. However, the problem was the technology wasn’t as evolved as it is now.
The trick is to find that sweet spot right when the trend is new, but not before the market is ready for it. You need to be right on time.
2. Have the right team
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Steve Jobs said, “Great things are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” Your team is essential to your success in business. The hard truth is, though, that the people who were with you at your founding stage may not be the best ones to work with you during your growth stage. As brutal as it sounds, a key to success in business is knowing when the time has come to pivot, and being adaptable enough to do it.
3. Know your strengths
What makes your product different from everyone else’s? The things that distinguish you from others in your market are your competitive advantage. Knowing the factors that give you the edge over your competitors and being able to articulate them is key to attracting investors.
4. Have a healthy team culture
What are the principles and ideologies of your business? Are all your team members in alignment with these attitudes and values? Does the environment you create for your team support these core values? For your startup to survive and thrive, there must be unity of purpose.
5. Know your Total Addressable Market (TAM)
To be attractive to investors, you need to prove that your business is meaningful. How can you do this? That’s where calculating your TAM comes in. Estimate the value your product provides to certain users and whether you’ll be able to sufficiently capture that value through pricing. Using this methodology you can gauge the impact you could potentially have on your market.
With the right timing, the right people, knowing your strengths, having a healthy team culture, and understanding your market, you’ll be ready to place yourself ahead of your competition. You will have just the foundation you need to grow from a startup to a successful established enterprise.