Estimated reading time: 8 mins
The modern business world is an incredibly exciting one. There was a time when the idea of building a business up from nothing seemed far closer to a fantasy than a reality. The resources required were simply too great for any one person, or even a small team, to ever have access to. However, thanks to the internet and improved access to just about everything you might need to create a successful business, there’s been something of a startup boom over the last several years. There are now plenty of bright young entrepreneurs creating small startups with a lot to offer the modern business world. Of course, one thing that is incredibly important to remember if you intend to become one of those entrepreneurs is that pretty much 90% percent of startups fail within their first year. Sure, that might sound like a pretty damning statistic, but there are plenty of things that you can do in order to prevent that and put your business into that all-important 10%. With that in mind, here are seven things that your startup simply cannot survive without.
The worst thing that you can do is to attempt to leap into your running a business without a firm grasp of what your plan for it is. Sure, you might know what you want out of your business and the general direction that you want to push it in, but that simply isn’t enough. You need to think about your customers. Who are they? What is your key demographic? Then you need to ask yourself if they’re already being served well enough that your business isn’t actually that necessary? After all, there’s no point creating a business that’s just going to be another in a massively saturated marketplace. Similarly, you need to plan for how your business is going to be structured, what employees you will need and what kind of resources your business can’t possibly go without. The reality is that there is no such thing as too much planning when it comes to creating a successful startup. Take as much time as possible to do all the research you can and create a detailed, well-considered business plan before you do anything else.
The reality of the modern world, not just in business but in everything, is that things move at an extraordinary pace. This wasn’t always the case but as technology improved the pace of the world got faster and faster, and now it can feel as though new developments are happening every single day. You need to be willing to embrace this as a business owner. Otherwise, you’re never going to be able to keep up with your competition. If you assume that you can run a business in the exact same way that someone might have done it a decade ago, then you’re sorely mistaken. If you stick to outdated working methods, then you’re always going to come up short. Make sure that you’re always aware of the latest developments and how you can integrate them into your working methods and your business. It takes a lot of dedication to be able to do this, but it’s always worth it for the sake of creating a business that is always on the cutting edge of your chosen industry.
For a long time, there was a pretty strict hierarchy when it came to the structure of a business. It was assumed that the business owner and manager always knew best and it was simply the duty of the employees to put their plans into action. And sure, there’s a degree to which this is still true. You should be willing to stick to your own personal vision of your business and shouldn’t let anyone try to take it in a direction that you’re not happy with. However, an open and collaborative atmosphere is something that you need to be willing to embrace in the modern era. Many startups are very small, and it’s much more likely that your employees will be working alongside you, rather than simply working for you. Because of that, having tools for things like team collaboration for content, which allow you and your employees to share resources incredibly easy, are pretty much indispensable. It also means that you should be willing to listen to the feedback that your employees have and pay attention to the things that they think could be improved about your business.
One thing that has never changed in the modern business world is that there is nothing more important than clear and open communication. If you, your customers, your investors, your customers, and anyone else involved in your business can’t communicate properly, then you’re never going to be able to create a truly successful business. Communication among employees is crucial for creating the most efficient and productive atmosphere possible. There are plenty of apps and software available that can easily improve employee communication, but you also need to make sure that it’s something that you’re directly encouraging. Similarly, if you’re not able to communicate with customers, whether that’s through marketing or customer service, then they’re never going to develop the kind of bond necessary to create a sense of genuine loyalty to your business. No matter what you’re doing or what direction you’re taking your business in, you should never forget that communication is the key.
Sustainability is something that has never been more important to a business than it is today, in a number of ways. For one thing, you need to be sure that your business is sustainable on an environmental level. Customers are deeply concerned with only supporting businesses that care about being sustainable and that are as environmentally conscious as possible. Make sure that not only are you thinking about things like the energy that your business uses but also alternatives that can make it more sustainable, but make sure that this is something that you’re directly communicating to your customers at all times. You also need to think about sustainable growth. Of course, every business needs to grow and expand in order to keep up with growing demands, but far too many startups try to grow too much too quickly without considering whether or not it’s something that they can actually sustain. If your business isn’t growing in a sustainable way, then it’s likely to end up completely collapsing under its own weight.
While it’s absolutely true that the barrier to entry for many businesses has never been lower, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of things that you need in order to get things off the ground. One of the most important of these is, of course, money. If you have no way to fund your business, especially in the early days, then you could end up in serious trouble. Luckily, there have never been more ways to fund your business than there are today. Traditional funding methods are still available to you of course. You can seek out investors who may be interested in your ideas, as well as taking out a business loan from the bank. If you’re able to, you can even fund the business yourself out of your savings. However, one of the most popular methods of funding for many startups in that of crowdsourcing. Through services like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, many startups have been able to get the funding they need directly from their customers in exchange for things like rewards, or simply because they have faith in your ideas.
This can be something that a lot of business owners really struggle with, but the truth is that you simply cannot have a successful business until you’re willing to embrace failure. No matter what happens, there are going to be times when you fall short of your expectations, or something goes wrong. The only way in which these things could be considered genuine failures is if you refuse to learn from them and move forward. Every single setback should be treated as a learning experience that you can use to make your business better and stronger in the future. Sure, it can be discouraging when things go wrong, but if you hide your head in the sand or throw in the towel every single time things get rough, then you’re never going to be able to create the kind of business that you really want.
It’s incredibly important that you do everything in your power to keep track of each and every element of your business at once. Sure, it can be incredibly difficult to do that, and it is likely to take a lot of time and effort. However, if that’s not something that you’re willing to sacrifice in order to make your startup a success, you may not be kind of person who can set up a successful business in the first place. None of this is intended as a scare tactic, but rather it’s there to help you figure out just how prepared you are to face all of the challenges that come with running a business and to hopefully help you overcome each and every one of them as successful as possible.