Marc Benioff, Richard Branson, Kevin Systrom, Marc Cuban, Aaron Levie, and Evan Williams — What do these names have in common? They might not be familiar at a glance, but most likely, you have used products and services these successful entrepreneurs have launched.
From Salesforce, Virgin Airways, Twitter, Box to Instagram, these entrepreneurs started small but today their ideas rule the world. If you are thinking of launching a startup, you have to be ready to do heavy lifting, and it is no wonder most people quit.
According to a Fortune Report, 90 per cent of startups collapse for many reasons. If you want to be among the 10 per cent who succeed, you have to learn from those who came before you. You might have an incredible business idea, but if you don’t do your homework, it is bound to fail.
To help you avoid the blunders most entrepreneurs make, here is a guide on what you should do and what to expect as you wade through the competitive world of modern business:
1. Research the market
In the Fortune Report, the top reason for business failure is the lack of market for a product. If you look at the most successful startups today including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook among others, they have come up to fill a gap in terms of message and image sharing. The availability of internet connectivity means people are more connected and as such, there was a need for instant sharing. The products or service you choose must be perfect for the market if you are going to make a mark in your niche.
2. Sell something you are passionate about
While most startups today are big on technology, you don’t have to jump into the bandwagon if you are not passionate about this field. For your brand to grow, you must believe in it. This is the only way you will be passionate about promoting it. If business is bad, you will remain motivated and that is how brands such as Apple grew even when the world thought Steve Jobs would fail faced with competition from bigger brands.
3. Be radical
If you are going to start a business, make sure it is uniquely bold. It has to be an idea that is disruptive because this is the only way people will notice it. Consumers are used to the same variation of products and they are now looking for radical ideas to make their lives better. The idea is to come up with an idea that is radically different and from here, make it radically better
4. Start small, but dream big
Most startups fail because they inject all their capital as they enter the market and a few months down the line, they can not meet operational costs. It is advisable to keep costs as low as possible as you start because you are still testing the waters. This gives you time to study the competition and understand the market from inside.
5. Make mistakes
If you are venturing into business, you should never be timid because this will cost you. Always try out new ideas and when they don’t work, stop looking back. It is important to listen to constructive criticism because this is the only way to learn and grow. Even the richest entrepreneurs today encourage startups not to fear making mistakes when they are testing their business models as these will turn out to be the foundation of success.
6. Be flexible
You might have the best business idea, but if you are not willing to change it to accommodate the realities in the market, you are doomed. It is important to be flexible because this means the business keeps going. If you stick to your reasoning alone, you end up losing invaluable time and it might not be easy to recoup.
7. Be realistic
Of course, every entrepreneur is hopeful that things will work out but you should not peg all your investment on hope alone. You must have a contingency plan to overcome unexpected occurrences. Most startups run out of cash fast because they feel that the tide will turn soon enough. You have to expect difficulties in the contemporary business environment and have some plans on how to cope with them.
8. Take things easy
Building a successful business is a marathon not a sprint, and many would-be entrepreneurs have learnt this the hard way. You have to avoid the speeding urge and instead build sustainable systems that will guide your business as it gradually expands. Burnout is not uncommon among entrepreneurs and it ruins even the best business ideas.
With these tips, you can now start doing your research and remember to take your time before plunging into the market.
The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.