Thanks to a number of well-known success stories, the startup model has gained a lot of global traction within the last decade. A typical startup goes from zero to several hundred employees within just a few years and quickly reaches a stage where its market valuation becomes substantial, leading to an initial public offer (IPO) that rewards the founders and early investors. However, a great majority of startups fails to reach this stage, instead crashing under the weight of expectations. Those that make it out of the incubation stage generally share the following attributes.
Startups are usually dependent on innovation in order to shake up the existing market and win a share of it. The original innovation frequently comes from the founder or a small team of experts, and it rarely looks like a sure thing right away. A bold and uncompromising vision is the intangible factor that separates true innovators from imitators, as it can’t be copied from another organization. Without it, a company is forced to go into the mainstream, where larger players are likely to outspend it.
The most important step in the development of any startup idea is formulating a marketable product or service that can drive continued monetization. The history of technology business is littered with fantastic ideas that couldn’t be readily packaged in a customer-friendly format and soon failed spectacularly. Pricing is a big consideration – it’s necessary to find a way to cover operational costs and turn a profit while staying within the acceptable pay range of most potential customers.
For the startup to actually collect revenues, its products or services must be purchased by the customers. This is the role of the sales department, which is one of the first pillars any successful startup needs to build. When it comes to sales coaching, training needs to be permanent and include all members of the sales team and not only newcomers. With time, a sales-oriented philosophy will become a part of company culture, ensuring strong results in the marketplace.
4. Brand identity
It’s much easier to sell when the customers know who you are, but this is a privilege that startups have to earn. Creating a recognizable brand takes time, skill, and resources, especially for companies offering complex solutions that require a level of technical knowledge to understand and appreciate. At the very least, up-and-coming providers need to become well known within their own industry. That’s why early campaigns should be narrowly directed to potential buyers rather than broad public.
5. External investment
The most important moment in the lifecycle of any startup is the first external infusion of funds. Angel investors and venture capitalists are actively hunting for promising startups and providing them with seed money to develop new products and support growth. A large cash injection can greatly accelerate realization of the initial plans and allow founders to pursue their vision with adequate resources at their disposal. It also provides a safety net in case major revenue streams temporarily take a turn for worse.