The 7 keys to ultimate success with your start-up
It does not really matter in which country you are starting your new business. The reality is that you need these 7 key elements for a successful start-up.
- Identify the new business opportunity. When you are considering starting a business, you must know if the idea or concept already exists and you are improving it in some way, or whether it is a brand new idea, i.e. completely new to the market. If the idea already exists, be sure of what you are changing. You may be making only minor amendments, or attempting to improve the entire business model. If your idea is brand new, you will require a great amount of inspiration, passion and drive. It should be your main priority, and more-or-less the complete focus of your life, especially in the early stages when you are planning and creating your start-up.
- Feasibility and viability. In the initial brainstorming required for your business idea, you need to make the distinction between feasibility and viability. Feasible means that it is possible, it can be done. For example, a luxury hotel can be opened in a rural area. Viable means that it is worthwhile. Would it really be worthwhile to open up a luxury hotel in a remote (possibly inaccessible) rural area where the locals may not be able to afford to stay, and tourists do not go? The product or service must be able to sell in the market. Would customers pay for it? You must ask yourself these questions and determine the answers before you start the business plan. A business that is only feasible and not viable has a greater chance of failure.
- Timing. When you are entering the market, the timing has to be right. Why do you think some business ideas fail, and yet years later a similar or even identical idea is hugely successful? The answer is often timing. If the market is not ready for the product or service, the business may not succeed. There must be a gap and opportunity in the market you want to pursue. Ask yourself why you will offer this product or service to customers? Does it answer their problem or fill their need? If not, the time may not be right.
- Being Lean. The Lean Start-up process is a methodology for start-up businesses, which broadly encompasses “search and execution”. Search focuses on customer and problem discovery. Execution involves creating meaningful transactions around your minimal viable product. The lean model is about working smarter and not harder (although you will be working hard!), eliminating ‘waste’ which could be time or something physical such as paper. It requires taking a hands-on approach and doing many things for yourself. You must have a viable product that can bring in revenue from early on in the process, and that will not take years to generate profit, especially if you have capital and loans to repay.
- The Business plan. This is very important. You have to have a sound and well thought-out plan in order to make your business successful. You will need it to show internal and external stakeholders, ranging from potential investors, who can be a tough crowd, to banks for possible loans (extremely challenging as everyone knows!). Make sure that you have the skills and the knowledge to write a business plan, otherwise there are professionals (or possibly your friends) who can help you do this. Obviously once your business gets underway, there can be any number of unpredictable events, but any business plan can be adjusted accordingly.
- Learning on the job. What you don’t know in the beginning, you will learn as the business starts to form and grow. There is no better way to learn than doing it with your business. Theory may be important but practice is key.
- Passion. Lastly, but the most important key of all, is passion. In order for a start-up business to succeed, you have to be passionate about the idea. When there is a slowish period in your start-up, which is almost bound to happen at some point, you will need passion to push you and your team through this. At such a time, it is good to remember the reason you started the business. It may be because you want total independence, it may be because you know consumers will benefit, or it may simply be because of the financial incentive. Whatever the reason, keep your passion, and you have the ultimate key to success in your hands.