Why is it that very few start-ups succeed, whereas 99% or more fail? Firstly, the success and failure are subjective terms, and the partial success and partial failure is also part of the game. I strongly believe success depends on 2 factors, hard work and luck. We obviously do not control the luck, but we control our efforts. We can maximize the probability of success by focusing on a few key items within a start-up.
1. Great team
A good team can make a below average business succeed, but a bad time cannot even make a good business plan succeed. It’s all about people, if you have a great bunch of people in your start-up who work coherently towards a common goal, your likelihood of success is high. Team includes co-founders, management, all employees, board (advisors / directors) as well as the good group of investors.
2. Hard work, smart work, and result orientation
In a start-up, all founders and employees have many roles. Actually they would always have more work than what they can do. An important skill they need to have to prioritize and manage their work-list. The only way to achieve it is by hard work, smart work, and being result driven.
– Hard work: there is no shortcut to success. Working hard increases your probability of getting most important things done, and your startup progress. If you are not having to slog in the startup, your targets are not ambitious and aggressive enough.
– Smart work: with so many priorities and tasks to take care of, you have to work smartly. Utilize all resources in and outside of your team. For example, in my case, my parents (using the driver) take care of all me personal things, company related banks tasks etc. We filed for 6 patents, I got the good patent lawyers, paid them more than what they asked for, and gave them all the work while maintaining the high level vision of what needs to be covered within the patent. If you can manage good people around you well, you can deliver a lot.
– Result oriented: one thing in life you cannot argues with is result. Whether you work hard, or you are super skilled, or you get lucky, result should be the main thing everyone focuses upon.
3. Relationships Building
Most business and products are profitable because of a good network of people around the start up. you will need to build lots of relationships with various mentors, partners, introducing guys (who help you connect to various relevant people), board members, clients etc. Good people skills go a long way in the success of a start-up.
4. Be Honest
The probability of your business succeeding is higher if you stay honest with everyone. You must fairly manage expectations of all partners, including investors, employees, clients etc. Being ethical and honest goes a long way in retaining people’s trust who you will need around you during and after the business.