These days everyone is starting a business and the success stories are getting younger and younger. To create a startup that is successful takes a long time and you have to be one of those entrepreneurs that are prepared to do whatever it needed to succeed.
The biggest mistake I see is entrepreneurs who are trying to ride a trend or copy something that has already been done. Do you know someone who is always starting a new business and never sticks to any one idea?
The reason for this is that they are trying to make money because they think it will make them happy – as the cliché goes it won’t. If you are going to go to the trouble of building a successful startup, then you must choose a field or industry that you are passionate about.
Sometimes the best advice anyone can give you is also the simplest. Think about what it is that you do throughout your life that makes you really happy. Whatever that one thing is, that’s what you should start a business around.
For me, I have many passions but when I get to inspire other people and share wisdom with them, I feel on top of the world and like nothing can stop me. I know when I am in the zone because I get tingles down the back of my spine, and it’s in these moments that I am most likely to generate income from a particular activity.
So having said all of that, below are the three ways to be successful at any startup you create.
1. Build a solid network of people
When you are starting a business from nothing, you need to have a network of people that you can either bring into your startup or that can help spread the word about your startup. If this is your first business, then the chances are that you will have a long list of people you have worked with or that you have engaged on some level in a business proposal.
These people are critical to the success of your startup. Get out of the thinking that you should be trying to sell to these people that you knew when you worked your old job. While you may sell to some of them, you need to think of these people as door openers.
They may not buy your startup’s product or service directly, but they will lead you to people who will. For this to work, though, it’s all about the approach. If you catch up with people in your network and they feel like all you want to do is pitch them, then you will turn off the very people that can help you.
At the same time, it’s important to ask the other person what they’re up to and see if you can find a way to assist them. Nine times out of ten, I find that the best way I can assist is with an introduction to someone that is valuable to them.
Even though this is so simple, don’t underestimate the power of this technique.
2. Create A Vision That People Care About
I have heard it dozens of times before; “create a vision that is compelling.” This is true, but the thing that people forget is that it also needs to be something that people care about. Saving the whales out at sea is compelling, but for a lot of people, it’s just not that high on their priorities.
Whereas if you said something like “change the face of the American Diet” there would be an audience of people that would listen. The more you can create a vision that people care about, the bigger the market is that you can service.
Don’t underestimate the value though of niche markets. Even if the market is very small, there are lots of niches that are not serviced by anyone. If you can find a niche that is not serviced and that people care about, then you have a successful startup idea right there.
3. Test the idea to death
So one thing that I see a lot of startups do is go to market with an idea that meets their needs, but that is not tested in the real world.
“Just because there is something that you think is valuable, doesn’t mean that other people will think the same thing”
One piece of important advice I can give you on this one, is to always test the market, but here’s the catch; people think you need to test it with 200,000 people – you don’t. I have seen many example where investors are happy with testing your product amongst people in their hundreds.
So if 400 people like your idea, then there is a good chance that you are on the right path. Just make sure that those 400 people are not all your friends otherwise their opinion is obviously biased.
Don’t be afraid as the founder to be a bit weird and spend time with your customers too, without telling them it’s your company or that you’re the founder. This can yield awesome market insights that are helpful in the testing phase.