Startup Success Step #1

Your idea is not as important as you think it is. Most people starting up a business believe that having a “Great Idea” is central. They were inspired by a brilliant breakthrough while showering one morning, so they believe success is a matter of executing that vision. That optimistic energy is essential fuel for the entrepreneurial mindset. Belief (vision without …

Startup Success Step #2

There is only one indispensable success factor for a startup: the certain knowledge of a market. Your startup can succeed even without a unique breakthrough idea, as we saw in Step #1. Zappo’s doesn’t sell better shoes, they sell shoes better. It’s also challenging but possible to succeed without having a store/factory/office/brewery/campus, jaw-dropping name, logo, patented process, secret sauce – …

Startup Success Step #8

How long is your head start? Half of the entrepreneurs we meet, when asked about competitors and barriers to entry, say “We’ll leave them in the dust.” This may stem from heavy doses of wishful thinking with fingers in ears. The other half are full of fear and trembling that the Big Bad Behemoths (P&G, Apple, Levi’s, Disney, Whoever) will …

Startup Success Step #13

Have you failed before? One of the hallmarks of highly successful entrepreneurs is a history, somewhere in the past, of an entrepreneurial failure. Paradoxical as this may seem, entrepreneurial people use their enthusiasm to stretch the envelope. Risk-takers who have gone over the edge know where the edge is. How many times did Domino’s Pizza go down in flames early …

Startup Success Step #16

Know your endgame. It makes all the sense in the world to look at your startup’s end – at the beginning. Somewhere down the road, you have to have an exit strategy – are you going to sell the business (and to whom?), close up shop and walk away, franchise, go public? There are many possibilities; choose one. If you’re …