Okay, so we didn’t actually conduct a survey to find out what factors contribute to the success of startups. However, we do follow the news and peruse reports and analyses regarding startups, venture capital, and pretty much all things technology. Based on the latest assessments, several distinct attributes are prevalent among startup superstars. With that in mind, here is a bit of advice for the up-and-coming:
1. Be a Futurist
There is a human tendency to find flaws…..in basically everything. And, regardless of whether those (likely somewhat flawed) things are working well or not, many people cannot help but think of ways to improve them. This desire to solve problems, whether those problems are merely perceived or actually exist, has led to the creation of countless businesses. Some of these businesses are seeking to provide a better service or product than already exists, while others are focused more on filling an apparent gap.
Either approach can certainly yield favorable results, but those who have reaped the most gains keep an eye on the future. Successful startups don’t just think about what they can achieve in the present. Most also have a clear vision of their company’s trajectory and growth, and the manner in which their particular product or service will fit into future demand or can evolve to do so.
Knowing where a company is going and conveying that with confidence and clarity will garner positive attention and attract much needed funding.
2. Fill an Unknown Demand
This ties into prioritizing the future, but it is more specifically associated with product (or service) creation and development. Some of the most successful businesses thrived because they delivered to market something that people perhaps hadn’t even demanded, but ultimately realized they needed or valued.
Some examples include things like peer ride sharing, disappearing text messages, and the practically immediate delivery of virtually any item imaginable. The goal for prospective startups is to think of ways to improve the lives of busy folks who are thrilled by convenience and willing to pay for it.
3. Look Beyond Silicon Valley
It is an unquestionable fact that Silicon Valley is home to some of the best and brightest startups, as well as the cash cows behind them. Although this will inevitably attract budding entrepreneurs, it lends equal credibility to the notion of becoming a pioneer elsewhere. After all, for every Silicon Valley-connected startup that has found success, there are probably ten or more that have floundered.
There are plenty of cities domestically and abroad with bustling financial and commercial centers that are eager to support the next big thing. As a result, startup founders should not be afraid to exploit those opportunities even if, or perhaps especially if, they are located far afield from the well-known NorCal hub.
4. Recruit Wisely
Smart people surround themselves with other smart people. When it comes to launching a business, putting together the right team is of paramount importance. More often than not, it isn’t about building the best team for the job; rather, it is about building the right team. Even if someone appears amazing on paper, has superb credentials, or is socially connected, that doesn’t mean they can execute the mission at hand.
Successful startups aren’t afraid to demand excellence, foster creativity, and encourage collaboration. More importantly, startup founders can and should be justifiably particular with respect to recruitment.
5. Protect Ideas and Information Fiercely
When people hear the words “intellectual property” they tend to think of copyright and trademark laws. However, when really thinking about what those two words mean, it is clear that intellectual property relates to the thoughts, concepts, or ideas that belong to one’s mind.
Intellectual people are generally characterized as highly intelligent, imaginative, and great thinkers. Thus, their innovative notions are the property that derives from such intellect. Throughout history, it is this intellectual property that has led to great advancements in science, technology, and medicine (among others), driven strong economies, and built great nations.
Successful companies with talented leaders understand the value of their intellectual property, and they go to great lengths to protect it. This can be achieved in a myriad of ways, including the use of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, a highly secure online repository, and strict controls on access to information. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how the information is protected, so long as it is in fact guarded.