Why do some businesses take off like a rocket whilst seemingly brilliant ideas fall by the wayside? Here are four things that successful start-ups have in common.
1. Passion. You hear it again and again – but it’s true. If you don’t believe – really believe – in your idea, you’ll find it hard to convince others and even harder to keep pushing on when times are tough. Most founders of successful start-ups based their company on a solution to a problem that they are really excited about. As Steve Jobs once said: “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
2. Focus. The best entrepreneurs don’t try to tackle too many things at once. Choose the one thing you really want to be best at, the thing you most want to be known for, that will really make you stand out. Distill it down to a single sentence, structured like a reference in a news article, .e.g “[Company Name], world leaders in…”, or “[Company Name] , the go-to providers for…” Forget the rest and run with that.
“The most important things for start-ups to do is to focus, ” says Paul Graham, founding partner of Y Combinator. “Because there’s so many things you could be doing. One of them is the most important. You should be doing that. And not any of the others.”
3. They value their customers. Start-ups have a lot to prove and the best ones know that, to keep their first precious customers from being poached by bigger competitors, they need to take great care of them. Design products with your customers in mind, make sure that your start-up knows how to design and deliver great customer service, and take care to really listen and respond to your customers’ needs. Your employees should all appreciate the value of great customer service, and your clients should be make to feel that choosing you over your competitors was the best decision they could have made.
4. They value their team. The best entrepreneurs never lose sight of their company culture. To succeed, you’ll need to really engage your staff, finding ways to reward and motivate employees as well as promoting their interests. The first people you hire will be absolutely critical to your start-ups’s success, so making sure they are the right fit is essential – but so is making sure they know how important they are to you and to the future of the business.