Tips For a Successful Start-up

The tech industry is swarming with innovation, new products made on rising technologies emerge everyday and the market is ripe with opportunity for the next big, disruptive idea. While established organizations are finding it difficult to keep pace with technology disruption, there are huge opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs and nimble startup ideas.


Despite a welcoming startup ecosystem, not all entrepreneurs will encounter achievement. In fact, stdies have shown that as much as  75% of venture-backed startups fail after five years was over 50% and over 70% after 10 years. While the entrepreneurs behind thriving startups are often mavericks — with a certain “X” factor that is difficult to replicate — there are steps entrepreneurs can take to increase their chances of success.

According to a Harvard Business School study, experience is the single greatest attribute an entrepreneur can bring to a new endeavor to improve the chances of success. While that isn’t shocking, the difference experience makes is significant:

  • Founders of a previously successful business have a 30% chance of success in their next venture
  • Founders who failed at a prior business have a 20% chance of succeeding
  • First-time entrepreneurs have an 18% chance of success
  1. Invest in press early.

Many consider PR or media outreach as fluffsomething that can wait until you have extra budget. However, in the spirit of “fake it till you make it,” securing placements in reputable publications early can help a new company in a number of ways. First, targeted exposure gets the word out, which usually drives leads. Second, an article in a respected industry publication enhances buy-in and can assist clients in convincing their bosses to take a leap with a new technology tool or process. This is especially important when you’re creating a new technology.


  1. Understand disruption’s timeline. 

Transformative technologies are often disruptive. This typically requires users to adjust their systems and processes to experience the greatest result. That’s challenging because people resist change. We all do. Big and meaningful change takes time, which means clients will not experience returns immediately. If you move forward with creating a disruptive technology, be sure you set boardroom expectations for your clients’ potentially reluctant transition to the new process.\


  1. Build third-party relationships.

Building relationships with third parties who will vouch for your work can provide ongoing value for the company and your technology. Early on, we worked with Vanderbilt University data scientists who peer-reviewed our models. This underscores our credibility to potential clients to this day, and helps land additional press because we’re not the only ones tooting our horn.


  1. Understand that overnight success usually takes a decade.

Hype says that launching a tech company brings overnight success and riches. Typically, it doesn’t work that way. As with most things of value, it takes time. The trick is to be resilient and flexible. Learn quickly from failures and then regroup to achieve your next win.


  1. Execute with focused flexibility.

No amount of startup planning can accurately predict the unexpected twists and turns imposed by reality. To succeed, a new venture needs both iteration and agility. Establish an ongoing process for translating ideas into actions and results, followed by evaluation. Test and adapt your concept as early as possible. Work on continually improving the fit between your big idea and the marketplace.


  1. Attach to the market, not your idea.

Passion is an inner phenomenon, but all healthy businesses are rooted outside the founder, in the marketplace. To turn your passion into profits, emphasize the market—always think about your business relative to the customers you serve; know your markets—strive to understand the needs and preferences of your core customers; and execute on your market opportunity by placing a priority on your customer’s experience and perception of value.

  1. Focus on an underserved market.

In an underserved market, challenges are not being addressed properly. They are either not sexy enough or not big enough to attract the attention of VCs and other investors. Often, by starting out in such a market, you can reach profitability much quicker and use the profits to expand your niche. For example, you could start out by providing your services at a low cost to tap into a market of customers that otherwise would not have the budget for such a service.


  1. Develop a sense of timing.

Waiting for the right moment to take a decision, and holding off until then, often makes the difference between success and failure.  A farmer knows when to sow and when to harvest.  When he plants rice, he doesn’t think about the price he may get, but when the crop is ripening, he will negotiate the price.

Be patient; try not to maximize your gains at every step.  The longer you wait, the higher the value you will create.  It can be frustrating but patience is sometimes your best friend; at other times, speed is important.  Knowing the difference is critical for success.




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