The idea of becoming an entrepreneur can be exciting and scary all at the same time. Some desirable reasons can include pursuing your passion, flexibility and being your own boss. Being an entrepreneur comes with many pros, but good things come to those who work hard. According to statistics, 90 percent of startups fail. That’s right, 90 percent.
There are many reasons why this statistic puts most entrepreneurs in that 90 percent group, but first, let’s focus on the best ways that you can become part of the 10% of entrepreneurs that build successful businesses.
These are the silent killers of the potential of your startup.
Basically, the only two things you need to focus on when you’re in startup phase is:
A crucial reason that businesses fail 90% of the time is because some people have the illusion that their business should be all about “product-market fit.” Your business should fit who you are. A great idea isn’t truly great until it fits not just the market, but you as well.
The “My Fit” Quadrant is a tool Innovazing uses and that I teach in my Entrepreneurship class, adapted from the original created by Guy Kawasaki, to help entrepreneurs organize the traits that they have to build a business that they are passionate about. The 4 traits that make up the quadrant are:
It is important for your company to understand the value that your business brings to your market. A successful business knows that it takes more than talking about features and benefits. It’s about enabling your consumer to become emotionally attached so that the brand becomes a part of their lifestyle.
Journal about the following to get to know where your passions, hobbies, experience and skills align to make your startup a successful one.
Your physical environment greatly affects positivity and overall well-being. Your workspace has an impact on your productivity, efficiency and creativity. Tailor your space to your specific needs and the kind of work that is being performed.
Here are a few things to consider when creating a workspace that enables you to increase productivity:
“Crossing the chasm” simply means helping a product/service/technology move from the “early adopters” to a larger market segment, sometimes called the “early majority.” This is where many entrepreneurs who start growing their businesses end up hitting their climax and going down, because they have a few clients and some revenue and focus on growing their business based on those early stages.
Leila Janah, Founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI, says, “the biggest reason for success in entrepreneurship is not brilliance. It’s not creative genius. It’s the simple ability to not quit when things are really bad.”
Here are some things to avoid to help you move past the chasm, scale up, think more strategically and with a long-term vision.
You don’t have to have a mentor to build a business, but it definitely helps to have that outside expertise of a person with knowledge in your industry. After running the @World Bank’s largest and most inclusive mentoring program over the past year, I realized the importance of seeking mentors and not being afraid to invite others to mentor you. What’s the worst that can happen? Often times, people are looking to give back, and it can be as casual as meeting to get feedback on an idea, it doesn’t have to be so formal. Startups that create a strategic network have access to mentors, and potential Advisory Board members, that can help guide them in their decision-making.
Here are some ways to find a good mentor:
A good mentor is one that leaves you inspired, refreshed, intellectually stimulated, and that can trigger you to get out of your comfort zone. Jot down 3-5 people you would like to mentor you, whether you’ve met them in real life or not. That’s already a first step in getting out of your comfort zone.
Creating and maintaining a successful startup requires hard work and strategic planning. Remember the tips above and you will have valuable tools to stay resilient in the beginning stages of your business. Good luck!