What does success take?
Your ideas need action. Just because startups don’t follow ‘traditional’ business models doesn’t mean they make it up as they go along. To succeed, you’ll still need structure and a strategy.
The startup mentality is deeply rooted in the concept of verifying your assumptions to gain validated learning. To continuously improve, you should build, test and change as you go along, as opposed to rigidly committing to a long-term plan. Adaptability will help to ensure your product remains innovative in a rapidly changing environment.
The culture of failing fast lies at the heart of all startups; constant experimentation helps you quickly determine the things which don’t work. You should test your ideas and products with the end user from the very start, and rework them based on the feedback you collect. Behind almost every visionary entrepreneur is a stack of prototypes that didn’t quite make it. As Thomas Edison once said, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’.
Our top tips
- Be passionate. You will need enthusiasm and belief to overcome hurdles you’ll face.
- Get connected. Entrepreneurs are often prepared to help each other out and collaborate. There are also lots of organisations, meetups and initiatives designed to match you up with the startup community and investors.
- Keep organised. You are going to be very busy and staying organised is key.
- Stay compliant. Don’t forget that there are rules and regulations governing almost everything you’ll do with your business.
- Research your idea. Does your product actually solve a problem consumers have? What niche does it fill in the market?
- Be prepared for hard work. It’s a competitive market - every day someone has a new idea and you’ll have to work hard to beat the competition. This will probably mean putting in a lot of hours into a project with no certainty. Are you prepared to do this?
- Stay ambitious. Don’t shy away from that revolutionary concept - the best ideas might be for new products which users don’t yet realise they want or need.
- Listen to your end user. Test your product from the beginning. Feedback will help you work out what you need to change to create something that will sell.
- Be incredibly flexible. The market changes all the time and your customers may not be aligned to your idea. Adapt your strategy/product to ensure your product satisfies them.
- Refine constantly. The slightest product or design change could put a customer off your product. Customers can be picky so test even the small changes.
- Be comfortable with failure. If you can’t recognise and learn from failure, you’ll find this industry tough. See it as an opportunity for improvement rather than a setback.