So, you really feel driven to launch your own start-up. You think you have this great idea you can turn into a successful business that could set you up for a lifetime of success. That’s great. The only question is whether you are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. You see, the secrets to business success are not magic. Your success will depend more on your attitude than anything else you might encounter along the way.
Bloomberg’s Abigail Morgan put together an exceptional piece in July 2018 highlighting the secrets to a successful start-up as explained by business leaders who have already succeeded. To the man (or woman, as the case may be) none of the tips offered constituted a magic pill that will make a start-up an overnight success.
If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can succeed. If you’re willing to glean from the experience of others, you can save yourself a lot of heartbreak while doing so.
1. Be Prepared for Hard Work
The first secret to success is really no secret at all: succeeding in business requires a lot of hard work. No successful business was built from the ground up without effort. You start with a good idea, create a business plan, put that plan in motion, and then work tirelessly to turn your great idea into a viable business that serves customers and meets needs.
If you are not willing to work hard and wait for the results to eventually come in, don’t even get started. There is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme in business. If you are not willing to put in long hours until your business is successful enough to allow you to bring others on board, don’t bother trying. You will not succeed without hard work.
2. Be Willing to Take Risks
One of the business experts featured in the Bloomberg article told Morgan that it is necessary to “be brave and persistent.” Another way to look at it is to be willing to take risks. There are going to be plenty of people along the way more than willing to tell you that your idea will not work. There will be no shortage of critics absolutely convinced that your business will fail. Ignore them.
Succeeding with a new start-up requires being willing to take a risk on yourself and your idea. Do not listen to the naysayers. Persist in pursuing your dream as long as you can find opportunities for doing so. As explained by another one of Morgan’s experts, don’t give up.
3. Be Realistic with Your Expectations
Next, it is imperative that you be realistic about your expectations. Don’t expect your business to be all that you want it to be within the first couple of years. Be ready to accept the fact that you might not even turn a profit until the third or fourth year. That is the nature of business. The most successful businesses spend the first year or so losing money, the second and third years breaking even, and then the fourth or fifth year finally realising a profit.
4. Get to Know Your Sector Intimately
One of the most fundamental truths of business is knowing your target customers. But that is only the start. In addition to knowing your customers, you have to know how your product or service will appeal to them. You have to understand how your company fits in the space you have chosen.
This is not something that can be learned once and then forgotten. Getting to know your sector intimately is an ongoing process that never stops. The more you understand about your customers, your chosen industry, and the space you occupy, the better able you will be at meeting customer needs.
5. Embrace Failure
Though it may seem counterproductive, do not be afraid of failing. One of the experts interviewed by Morgan warns new business owners that they will likely fail multiple times before they succeed. He went so far as to call failure the business owners’ partner.
Here’s the deal: failure is one of the best teachers in the world. Every time an idea fails, it represents another opportunity to learn why. The more you learn from those experiences, the closer you get to the success you are ultimately struggling for. So don’t quit if you fail the first time. Do not quit after the second or third time either. Learn from your failures and try again.
6. Be Prepared for a Roller Coaster Ride
Running your own business is a roller coaster ride no matter how long you do it. The roller coaster is especially treacherous during those first few years, as you feel your way through the struggles of business on your way to ultimate profitability.
Be prepared for the roller coaster. If you cannot handle the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur, you might want to scrap your idea and look for a stable job. If you are up for the ride though, it is a wild one you might actually enjoy!
7. Stretch Your Resources
It is normal to have limited resources to dedicate to a new start-up. Do not let such limits dissuade you from giving things your best shot. Figure out ways to stretch your resources as far as they will go. Also don’t be afraid of finding inexpensive ways of doing things. It’s okay to spend less in order to keep your business afloat – just as long as the quality of your product or service does not suffer.
Succeeding in business without really trying is a myth. It cannot be done except in exceedingly rare circumstances. So if you’re hoping to get a start-up off the ground, be prepared for a lot of work and plenty of frustration. Stick with it until you realise the success you are after. You’ll be glad you did.