Four Mantras to Startup Success
Research shows the best way to learn about entrepreneurship is by starting a company. And to be a successful startup founder, the best route is by overcoming stress and leading through learning.
Here are some simple best practices for aspiring entrepreneurs to keep in mind when starting or giving their business a boost.
Stay Focused on Your Differentiators
When you’re starting a new company from the ground up, it’s fundamental to understand your primary competitive differentiators and stay laser-focused on them. When you start designing your product, develop unique features and capabilities that no one else in the industry has implemented.
While your competitors can go far and wide with their products to try and generally cover every business under the sun, choose to be more strategic and focus your efforts on specific verticals and use cases, that is, top-line sales, marketing, cost-optimization, operations and customer support.
Allow a bottoms-up approach to make your enterprise smarter, quicker and more cost-effective.
The first two years of any startup journey is largely focused on understanding the market and creating the minimum viable product. Few initial market experiments could turn out to be failed go-to-market partnerships, but these setbacks are not the end. They just mean that it is time to reevaluate.
A company’s true north should be to focus on the customer. Decisions to optimize products, processes and services need to revolve around customer acquisition and retention, and consequently, every employee needs to be trained to become a customer-success champion.
Regardless of the number of years of experience in established businesses, first-time entrepreneurs need to acknowledge that they don’t know what they don’t know.
You constantly need to close the knowledge gap by reaching out to your professional network, attending industry conferences and conducting exhaustive research of all concepts and trends within your field.
It is extremely beneficial to continue learning from a broad set of technology and industry experts and connecting with learned mentors who have had entrepreneurial experience and/or invest in startups.
That being said, while abundant advice from many sources is available, it’s valuable to note that every situation is unique, and it’s ultimately the team DNA and dynamics that contribute to the decision-making process.
Raising early capital is an excruciatingly painful process, which may help to explain why early investors are called “angels.”
The experience of working with limited resources helps you to always be cost and capital efficient.
Leveraging personal and professional connections that are receptive to listening and providing feedback on your proof-of-concept is vital to gain the required velocity to take your company into the next orbit.
Appreciate Lady Luck
In the words of Vinod Khosla, venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, who spoke about the entrepreneurial rollercoaster, “The essential thing that entrepreneurs do is to charm lady luck.”
Some call it luck; others call it providence. Regardless of the name, lady luck can strike anytime so it’s important to be prepared.
Each time you face adversity, try to dig deeper, come up with creative solutions and charm lady luck to successfully carry you forward on your latest entrepreneurial expedition.