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Updated: Dec 31, 2021

They say that being your own boss is great; you start with a brilliant idea, throw in some grit and effective planning and voila, you’ve got a money-maker! That’s the short version of the story. Unfortunately, the truth is that an estimated 90% of new startups fail within 10 years of operation.

How do start-ups perform?

What does it take to turn your fledgling idea into an industry powerhouse?

1. Problems need solutions 

Many have had good ideas that don’t solve for an existing need. Those ideas, while great, can’t be taken to the next level.

Identify a problem or a need, and then provide a solution to fix the problem or meet the need.. You’ll have a market that’s already looking for what you’ll give them. That’s a sure way to poise your business for success.

2. Research, research, research

Data is now the most valuable resource in the world. We are in an information age, where everything you need to know and want to know is just a click away. With so much at our fingertips, there’s no reason why one should go into business unprepared.

A few keystrokes in a search engine will identify your competition and target market. Once you really get into all the data, you’ll see that it’s not enough to just keep up with your competitors. You need to identify what will set you apart from them, and you need to stay ahead by listening to what your target market is saying.

Data analysis is a continuous process, which, when done right, can take your business to new heights. Find out more about Digital Consumer Intelligence.

3. It takes a village.

No great feat is accomplished alone. Having a team that shares your vision goes a long way towards achieving it. In fact, some studies show that having a cofounder reduces your chances of failing as a startup. Having different perspectives makes for a good view of the overall picture. A good team is always better together.

4. Without a map, how will you know where to go?

Your business plan is your success roadmap. A well-written plan will help you to clearly identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats facing your business.

Creating this map should be a team activity. Get the help of friends, family, and industry professionals. Two heads are always better than one. Some helpful guiding questions are:

  • Is there any demand for your idea?

  • Who will buy your services/products?

  • What will be the targeted audience?

  • What is the extent of competition in the market?

  • What charges can you put on your service/products

5. Funding

Your market research has given you the green flag. Next, is a solid financial plan. 

The data from your research should help you put together a budget. With this, you will know whether or not you require external financing. If that’s the case, your financial plan would need to be more detailed to attract investors. You would need to include projected income, expenditure, cash flow, profit or loss, and different investment phases. Rope in seasoned professionals for a better chance at this.

If possible, finance your business yourself, or get some help from friends and family.

6. Consult with professionals

Experts provide specialised knowledge in a business area that you may have no experience in. A business mentor will share their experience and knowledge and occasionally give advice. A trained professional coach will help you clarify your business vision, stretch your creativity when it comes to problem solving and opportunities, and keep you accountable to your commitments for both personal and business success.

7. Position Your Product/ Service 

Everyone is fighting for your customer’s attention. Find what will set you apart and make it work for you. Grab and hold their attention. Engage them in a way that your competitor won’t. When it’s easy to see the value in what you are selling, you will have yourself a loyal customer.

8. Build Your Brand

This doesn’t just refer to a clean, recognisable logo with eye-catching colours, or a catchy tagline. Your business ethics, reputation and client experience are also part of branding.

One really bad review can have a huge impact in your business. Try to anticipate your clients’ needs, and action their feedback. Build a brand persona that encompasses what your business is all about. A persona that resonates with your clients

9. It doesn’t happen overnight.

There will be long hours and bumps along the way. There will be little fires and small wins. There will be big hurdles and big paydays.

But when you can count yourself among the 10% of startups that made it, it will have been worth it.

Best of luck,




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