10 ways to ensure your startup is a successful one

Balancing The Account

  1. Have a purpose
    You would think this is a no-brainer, but you will be surprised how many times I have asked friends of mine who are thinking of starting a company, why they want to do what they are doing and they can’t tell me. Unfortunately, in this generation, there are too many people out there hoping to get rich quick by developing the next big thing! A copy of Uber, a Fitness application or a new accounting software – the ideas are endless and the perception is, that all it really takes for people to start is money. Not completely true! What it definitely takes is a purpose. Why are you doing what you are doing? Will people believe in what you are doing? Will people go and spend their hard earned cash to buy your product or service?A great TedTALK to watch is Simon Sinek’s “What’s Your Why”. You will finish the 18min video with a clear vision and way forward.
  2. Do your research
    This can be overwhelming. For many entrepreneurs, the ideas and creating the possibilities is the easy part – the market execution is what proves to be more difficult. With the amount of content online, it can be difficult to sift through the endless pages and get what is relevant to your business. But it is vital that you get it right. Aaron Keller – MD of Capsule says “It’s a big red flag when someone outlines the size of the market – multi-billion dollars – but doesn’t clearly articulate a plan for how the idea will meet an unmet need in the marketplace”. Take the time to get the market research right, this can prove invaluable in determining your business idea’s potential and your strategy for both the short-term and long-term goals of your business.
  3. Go to Market strategy
    I have watched many YouTube videos and interviews on successful entrepreneurs and when asked the question, what would you do differently? it’s almost always an answer of investing in a powerful go-to-market strategy.Tien Tzuo, founder, and CEO of Zuora asks every company he speaks with about their go-to-market strategy, with the question being: “When you eventually become a $100-million-dollar company, what will your customer base look like? Will it be:
  • 1 customer paying you $100 million dollars a year
  • 10 customer paying you $10 million a year
  • 100 customer paying you $1 million a year
  • 1,000 customer paying you $100,000 a year
  • 10,000 customer paying you $10,000 a year
  • 100,000 customers paying you 1,000 a year
  • 1,000,000 customers paying you $100 a year
  • 10,000 customers paying you $10 a year
  • 100,000,000 customers paying you $1 a year

It is an interesting concept, and the more time I have to think about it, the more sense it makes to me and my business. It’s about forward thinking and creating and investing in a go-to-market strategy which will be successful and relevant when your business starts hitting the big numbers.

  1. Know your numbers
    A major reason for a start-ups failure is the lack of cash flow. It’s no secret that entrepreneurs tend to underestimate the start-up costs of a business and in turn, run out of money. It is a necessity to have a complete understanding of the numbers that drive your business. The numbers which you must know and be familiar with include:
  • Working Capital
  • Revenues
  • Gross Profit
  • Profit Margin
  • Expenses: Operational, Marketing, Administrative etc.
  • Compensation
  • Research & Development

Write down all the essential numbers into a spreadsheet and see if you can cover the start-up costs. If you can, you are good to go!

  1. Take calculated risks
    In the business world, taking risks is inevitable if you want to be successful. The question is, does your business take foolish risks or calculated ones? The number of times that we’ve heard successful entrepreneurs say “I went with my gut” are endless, although the key is to determine the difference between a foolish risk and a calculated one. In layman’s terms, a calculated risk involves a fair amount of research which will inevitably increase the chances of success rather than failure. It is important to take the emotion out of a decision and focus just on the data presented to minimize the negative outcomes and maximize the positive ones.
  2. Stay up to date with current and new trends within your industry
    In today’s ever-changing economy and business sphere, it is vital for your start-up to stay current and up to date within in an industry which is constantly shifting. This is easier said than done. Being cognisant of changes as they happen not only keeps you ahead of the game but also at the forefront of industry trends and innovation. To stay current, subscribe to industry journals, relevant bloggers, news articles, interviews with experts in your field etc. It is so important to stay relevant in a very fast changing world.
  3. Know when to pivot
    There are many signs which present themselves when you know it’s time for your start-up to pivot. Examples such as consumers not buying your product although there is interest, investors aren’t coming to the party, you’re constantly having to defend your place and educate the market etc. A fundamental factor for any entrepreneur is the ability and willingness to know when to change your business model.
  4. Network
    Networking is a powerful tool in many different ways. Not only do you feel inspired and motivated by the people you meet along the way, but also incredible opportunities for your business arises. For a start-up or even an established business, this is where a coworking space is so valuable. Not only does it give you a place to work with your own desk and essentially on your own terms, it provides the positives of a corporate environment with meeting and collaborating like-minded people and providing a productive working environment.
  5. Set Goals
    Writing goals can be a daunting task but it is a necessary evil. If you don’t have any goals, how do you know where your business is going and if you are achieving your maximum potential? There are many reasons why goals are so important to a business’s success which include:
  • Measuring your success
  • Holding the business accountable
  • Your leadership team is aligned
  • Keeps you focused on the business
  • Allows you to reassess your goals every 6-12 months based on your businesses direction and performance
  1. Prioritize
    As the founder of a start-up, you eat, sleep, breathe the business. Although this is great, it is important to define what it is that you must do and what it is that you can have someone else do. Understandably, with a start-up you have to cut costs everywhere and don’t necessarily have the financial resources to employ or outsource staff to complete certain tasks. It is imperative that you prioritize the most valuable resource in the business, which is your time. Write yourself a to-do list every day with the top 3 lines being non-negotiable, these need to be completed today to ensure the success of the business.With the amount of applications available today, there are many ways to automate many parts of your business. This may take some time to set up initially, although in the long-term you’ll be very grateful that you took the time to do it.

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