A successful startup doesn’t just happen. Of course, no one believes that anyway. But even pouring yourself into making your startup work doesn’t guarantee success. You might be able to limp along for a little while, but sooner rather than later, things will fall apart.
Bleak, right? Well, it’s a good thing that I believe that there’s no point to complaining about a problem if you can’t provide a solution.
If you want to create a startup that thrives, put these five critical tips into practice today.
Find Your Purpose
Building a successful startup is a journey—you might not know what turns your path will take, but you probably have an idea about where you want to end up. If you don’t, that’s because you haven’t paid enough attention to where you started. Your starting place is your purpose, and you need to find it and base your decisions about what paths to take around it.
Deal in Opportunities Rather Than Ideas
As an entrepreneur, you have to have ideas. But ideas alone are not enough. What you need to do is create opportunities, for yourself and for others. I find the NERCM model to be useful when thinking about whether I’m dealing in opportunities rather than ideas:
- Is there a genuine need for what I’m offering?
- Do I have credible experience in that area?
- Are there adequate resources available?
- Will customers pay for what I’m selling?
- Is my business model sound?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then you’re in good shape. Remember, an idea might be brilliant, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sell it.
Build from a Solid Foundation of Knowledge
Now that you have your purpose and you’re ready to start creating opportunities, it’s time to find your entry point into your chosen industry. To do that, you need to start building your knowledge base. What opportunities do you see opening up in your industry or related industries? Do you see any unaddressed problems as a consumer? Continually building on a solid foundation of knowledge is key to creating a successful startup.
Make Valuable Connections
The image of the “self-made” man or woman has become cliché, and what’s worse, it’s not even true! Nobody in business (or in life, for that matter) gets to where they’re going alone—not Bill Gates, not Oprah Winfrey, not Elon Musk, nobody. One of the biggest secrets of creating a successful startup is that you need to surround yourself with people who can help you achieve your goals. You need to make connections with three types of people—knowledgeable mentors who have been where you are, energetic team members who sincerely believe in the mission, and business partners who will help you grow. Creating mutually beneficial relationships is a must for any startup.
“Practice alchemy? What is she talking about?” you might be thinking right now. But, yes. To have a successful startup, you need to learn to turn raw matter into gold. You need to create value where there was none before. Find ways to be more efficient than the competition, and as they say, you’ll be golden.