Articles and Advice

5 Critical Success Factors For Sure Fire Startup Success

Have you got what it takes to turn your big idea …into the next big thing?

So, you’ve finally cracked the big idea.  Time to sit back, put your feet up and bask in the entrepreneurial glory.  Right?

Not really.

Having worked with many startups over the years we know that taking your business from idea to realisation is:

1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

The success of any startup rests upon the execution of the idea.  It’s that critical tipping point where good ideas can stay as good ideas, or (with the right attitude and tools) forge ahead to success.

Look at any startup success story and you’ll see there are things that leaders of those organisations do differently.

Attitude is everything

Investors back the jockey not the horse.

As the founder of a startup you are the biggest asset your business has.  Break ground.  Blaze trails. If you cut yourself, you would bleed tenacity and determination.  This is where your own personal mindset comes into play.

We talk a lot about mindset when coaching new entrepreneurs.  It’s worth understanding that you (and you alone) are in control of your attitude. If you’re in the mindset of success, then a lot of the work is already done.  Hard work won’t feel like effort and energy and enthusiasm will flow easily.

Same goes for a negative or doubtful attitude.  A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, if you don’t change it you’ll go nowhere.  If you can only see negatives, chances are you’ll head in that direction pretty fast.

If you have doubts, keep them to yourself.  Forge ahead.

If it’s good enough for the entire British Army, it’s good enough for you.

Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance is the old Military Adage also known as the 7 Ps (or the 6 Ps if you’re being polite).

On this topic we have two words:  Business. Plan.

It doesn’t matter how many founders a business has, or how experienced they may be, there is never a scenario where it makes sense to forgo the creation of a business plan.

Business Planning or Strategic Design doesn’t have to be that thing you keep putting on the bottom of the pile.  Approach your planning with the same entrepreneurial flair that delivered your big idea.  Bring passion and imagination to planning.

Time to think of all scenarios.  Time to take feedback, reflect on different approaches and listen to expert opinion.  Consider the story of your business.  Not a “how we got started” story but the story of what makes your business human.  Today’s savvy consumer is drawn to a business that has depth and realness. We call it the businesses purpose.

Consider how you are going to keep your business healthy.  A well-fed business is one that will continue to grow. A business that is starved will die out (some more quickly than others).

Only fools rush in

We know… it’s your baby.  In your eyes your new product is perfect in every way (as well as intelligent and incredibly good-looking).  Just because your product is perfect in your mind… doesn’t mean others will feel the same way.

Ask some hard questions. Your product may be unlike anything else that’s out there, but is that a good thing?  Your product may solve a problem, but how many people have this problem? In strategic design we call this product and market validation.

Examine the strategies on how you plan to deliver your product.  How are you going to get it into the hands of those who truly need it?

Don’t rush to launch your product until you know your market backwards, forwards and inside out.   A shortcoming discovered after release will make you look the fool and will not be quickly forgotten – let alone the risk of running out of money.

Playing the funding game

Which brings us to the need for money. Getting your Startup off the ground is all about determination.  But at some point, it’s going to take cold hard cash.

Do you know your Venture Capital from your Angel Investment?  Are you up to date on new styles of funding like Crowd Funding?

Online Crowd Funding cuts down on the time and resources needed for face-to-face presentations.  But it does require some good knowledge on creating an online presence and navigating the digital landscape.  The upside – you get your product in front of a huge amount of potential investors in one go.

When it comes to face-to-face presentations to investors, bring your passion and enthusiasm.  Present yourself well and don’t be afraid to bring in help if needed.  If you’re not strong on accounting, bring someone who is.

Target the right investors.  If your startup is related to an innovation in motor cars, target investors who are already investing in this sector or are involved in industry associations.  Think about making strategic connections.

If it’s not moving you forward, don’t do it

Everything you do should move you towards a place of revenue generation.

You may like creating spreadsheets, analysing data, and generally dreaming big but now it’s time to start acting like the boss.  Get good admin people in to do the admin, get good accounts people in to do the accounts.  You’re here for your brain, not your typing speed.

Having an idea is great, but making it happen takes the right people in the right mindset.  The only way to move it forward is to make sure you have the connections and the tenacity to never stop moving forward.



South Inc. provides business planning tools for entrepreneurs starting their own business. Tools for product and market validation and strategies for marketing your new business will give you a solid framework for your hard-work and perspiration.