Entrepreneur Ben Horowitz once said, “As a startup CEO I slept like a baby… I woke up every two hours and cried.”
If there were a 90% chance of rain tomorrow, would you still plan a picnic in the park for a few of your favorite friends? Chances are, in the wake of those looming statistics, you would have a solid plan in place to ensure your event went off without a hitch: a definite indoor Plan B or even a plan to reschedule.
When it comes to success in business, the numbers play out exactly the same. According to Forbes magazine author Neil Patel, 90% of business startups will fail. It’s a sobering and bleak reality that is not meant to discourage, but to encourage business startups and entrepreneurs to not fall into the “fail to plan, plan to fail” trap. Yet, some store owners still show up to the park hoping for a pleasant picnic in the pouring rain and can’t figure out why their friends aren’t there.
Patel believes there are four key characteristics of startups that ultimately succeed – the ones that have reached the coveted 10%. To make sure you’re startup is a rain-free walk in the park, here’s what your new store needs.
People Want What You Have
The number one reason the majority of startup businesses fail is because they are selling a product nobody wants. Forty-two percent of failed startups identified “lack of market need for their product” as the biggest reason for their failure.
If you plan to spend the majority of your waking hours peddling a product, you first better make sure you have the right product for the right market. Do your research before you launch. Evaluate consumers’ wants and needs and ask a lot of questions. Thorough research can make all the difference in how the rest of your life savings and sanity is spent.
No Segmented Responsibilities
Building a strong team is integral to success, but segmenting that team into narrowly focused groups of separate responsibilities can be dangerous. Don’t get stuck following the belief “this is my job; that is your job.” The roles and responsibilities of team members will overlap as small tasks and projects often turn into larger ones. Some of the most important aspects of running a startup, the ones most store owners want to push off for later, are smaller, tedious jobs.
Successful store starters understand the concept of “work on their business and not in their business.” So, don’t pigeonhole responsibilities; but, at the same time, don’t get caught up in the day-to-day tedious nature of ongoing business tasks, calls, emails and meetings. Those small tasks distract from the heart of running and operating your business. Entrepreneur Mark Suster said it best: “I’m often not the most talented on any given topic, but often my value is that I know who is and how to get help.”
Growth is the ultimate outcome every new store owner desires. Investors thrive on growth. Marketers capitalize on it, and startups will only survive when growth is evident and accelerated. Explosive growth is a sign of a great idea in a thriving market. Slow or low growth rates should not appear after just months of operation. A business that isn’t growing is shrinking – and shrinkages leads to shutting down.
If you can push past woes in the initial startup (the loss of personnel, the fickle nature of customers and the battle of competition), you are on track for growth. And, that is the ticket to success.
Recovery is Second Nature
New startups will face adversity. The mark of a successful startup is the ability to rebound, rebrand, shift focus and adjust when hardships happen. If you have a versatile and resilient team on board that is determined to weather any storm, you have the makings of a successful startup. Be sure to arm your new store with a team of fighters.
Set yourself up for success and land in that elite 10% by doing researching your environment and creating a plan. Don’t let running your startup be like hosting a picnic in the rain… because soggy sandwiches don’t make for a successful occasion.