As an entrepreneur looking to build a start-up, I’m sure you’ve heard statistics show over 90% of start-ups end in failure. If this fact scares you, turn around and hit the door now because starting a business is not for the fearful. Building and maintaining a successful start-up requires you to be ready to face any challenge head-on. The fact that you’re stepping up to the plate and pursing your start-up is a great starting place, but it’s only the beginning. Take it from someone with over 30 years of skin in the game. Beating the odds won’t be a walk in the park, however, using this advice will help you avoid becoming just another statistic.
First things first, you must build the right team around you. I don’t care who you are, if you don’t hire the right people, you’re stacking the cards against you from the start. The people you hire should be complementary assets. Where your skill sets are weak, they should be strong. It’s also important to look beyond just a resume. Anyone can make themselves sound good on paper, but can they mesh well into your system and be the high performing individual that you need?
Beyond just selecting the right people, you also must know how to lead them to success. Be the boss! Yes, building a good relationship with your employees is important, but keep in mind that they are employees. This is not the time to be a friend or “one of the guys.” Establish boundaries, set your expectations and hold them accountable for their responsibilities.
Once you have your staff in place, the next phase of ensuring your start-up is successful is to implement a good strategy. Knowledge is key here. Many successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they base a lot of their decisions of their gut instinct. But, in all actuality, that gut feeling you get when deciding what’s best for your company is nothing more than your subconscious analyzing all the facts and intel you have been receiving up until that point. The more you know, the more those instinctive decisions will pay off, literally. Well-informed decisions will turn into profit.
Your knowledge also has to extend past the day to day activities of your business. You must be informed on outside factors such as your customers’ wants and your competitors. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you on how to grow a successful start-up is to put your customers first. So many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that they always know what’s best instead of listening to what the consumers are saying. Don’t let such a foolish mistake be your demise. Make things simple for yourself, ask your customers about their wants and follow through.
You also need to be aware of your competition. Knowledge of your competitors can help you measure your own progress in that shared space. When it comes to business, competition is not something to shy away from. Embrace it, but in the humblest of ways because you never know when the tables might turn. Those competitors just might become your partners one day.
The last bit of insight I’ll leave you with is perhaps some of the most important aspects to beating those start-up odds, yet it’s the things that can’t be taught. It’s your passion, your tenacity, your energy. It’s that inner fire that burns deep within and drives you to push forward. Find a way to keep adding fuel to that fire and don’t let it burn out just because you hit a little bit of success. I always go back to the thought that it is better to be young and hungry than old and fat (metaphorically speaking).
Yes, statistics show that most start-ups won’t last, but don’t let that deter you away from achieving your goals. It’s up to you to beat all odds and survive. The goal isn’t just to come out on top, but to stay on top. So, keep adding fuel to that fire and fight for your success.
Now go and build that powerhouse.
Ziad K. Abdelnour is Founder, President & CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc. a private “family office” in the business of originating, structuring & acting as an equity investor in strategic corporate investments and co-Founder of Blackhawk Development Group LLC; a trading platform focusing on the financing of real estate, infrastructure and project finance properties throughout the US.