What are the basic characteristics of successful startups? Why do some startups grow into successful businesses while others fizzle out before hitting those first goals? Every entrepreneur wonders at some point or another at the beginning of their business venture if their startup has what it takes to “make” it.
Of course, no one can absolutely guarantee that your startup will succeed (or fail, for that matter). Unforeseeable circumstances, from natural disasters to flaws in the economy, sometimes doom a startup to failure, even if everything else in place.
However, in spite of events that entrepreneurs cannot control, there are some fundamental characteristics that are common to successful startups. Make sure your startup includes the elements discussed below, work hard, and believe in your business more than anyone else and you may just find your company listed in Inc.com’s next publication of successful start-up companies.
Five Fundamental Characteristics of Successful Startups
An Innovative Product
An article from PrintPlace.com points out that 90% of new products fail, mostly due to a lack of innovation. Many have the misconception, too, that innovation means inventing a new product completely from scratch.
However, innovation can come from simply finding a problem and creating a solution using parts that are readily available. If you are seeking venture capitalists to help you get your startup off the ground, big and bold ideas are the ones that capture their attention. Innovation often requires risk, but one that you and other founders are willing to take because the idea itself is able to go big at some point in the future.
Know your customers and what they want. Don’t try to sell them something they don’t need or want. If your startup began by selling vintage decor to customers and are trying to find a way to expand, do not try selling your customers modern decor…that is, unless your customers would go wild over it. Rather than trying to grow your product by going outside of the desires of your current target customers, however, grow your startup to fit within the expectations of your current customers. This gives you a focused vision and better enables you to create a strong experience for your customers.
Some startups grow from small to a multi-million dollar company without making anything more than some necessary adjustments in order to scale the product. Others are only successful after they completely change their business idea or innovation. And then others fall somewhere in the middle.
No matter the level of changes your startup may need to make, being flexible is a must for success. Your base customers may have loved your original idea, but the majority of consumers don’t bite: change is needed in order to gain new customers. Or maybe you realize that your original product is not scalable: make the necessary adjustments so that your startup can grow.
Flexibility means the willingness to know that some of your hard work will seem pointless because of a sudden change in direction, but that ability to make the change when needed is what will keep your startup going.
Strategy and Execution
Fred P. Burke, a highly successful entrepreneur who grew a Guardian Pharmacy to over $250 million in revenue, believes that it takes the right mixture of strategy and execution to make a startup work. An active plan for the future, one that encompasses growth and important goals, is vital to a company surviving its beginning. However, knowing how to carry out that strategy is also key to longevity. This is where being able to motivate and effectively communicate to your team comes into play.
A Killer Team
A startup doesn’t just need a team who has the knowledge base to get stuff done. It needs people who actively get involved in making sure the startup is a success. People who are hard-workers, who take initiative, and who take on your vision and make it their own are people who will help you carry the many burdens that come with starting a new company or launching a new product.
But you also have to be able to choose the right team during every stage of the process. What may have been right for your startup in the beginning may not be right for it now as you start seeing some growth. For instance, now it may be time to hire a new manager who has experience with larger scale operations.
In conclusion, i want you to understand the fact that not all startups follow the same patterns on their road to success, but the majority of them do seem to have some common characteristics. Most successful companies were a result of hard work and determination, not an overnight fluke or flight. Keep researching, trying, trying, and trying again, and your startup will be much more likely to become your ticket to rewarding self-employment.
About the Author: Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers business cards, catalog printing, flyers, brochures, postcards, poster printing, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.