Private companies account for a full one third of Britain’s economy. The majority of these companies are young startups. Studies reveal that only 28% of startup companies are still in operation in the second year. Only 12% make it to the third. These statistics highlight the challenges of sustaining a startup. They all face similar challenges of funding, costs and scale. However, a small minority of 12% overcomes these hurdles to prosper and grow. What are the secrets that allow them to achieve their success? Let’s hear from some of the people who have turned their startups into a success story.
Passion: Being an entrepreneur is not a full-time job; it’s a lifestyle. Passion means loving what you do and doing it 24/7. Real life takes a back seat, it is something managed by an understanding partner. You will miss many first football matches, ballet shows and PTA meetings. Without the passion, you’re not going to make the 12%. Max Mosley understands this passion. As an ex-racing driver, the founder of March Engineering (which made engines for F1 cars), a long-term president of the FIA (the governing body of F1), and an author, Max has donned many roles around his central passion for racing. You can learn more about him from the various books by Max Mosley.
Become a learning machine: It takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become somewhat proficient at it. Assuming you spend ten hours daily on learning, it’s going to take three years for you to get a grasp on how your business works. The desire to shorten this time has to either be instinctive or be cultivated as a conscious habit. As Ney Torres, CEO of CarFootprints, says: “Commit to mastery, to becoming a learning machine. You don’t need only one tool or skill to build a house or building. You don’t need to be the best at all of them, but you need to understand them.”
Build a team that shares your vision: Your employees need to share your vision, and each of them needs to be better at what they do than you. You’re constantly looking for people who are better and smarter, and then start learning from them. “For me, it’s more than just hiring experienced people. It’s important to demonstrate the type of organisation we want to be,” says Mike Mondello, president of SeaBear.
Understand your client needs: Your customer has many choices for the product or service you supply. To ensure longevity of the relationship, you have to be their vendor of choice, a vendor who offers a great product or service, and is seen as reliable and someone who understands and accommodates their needs.
Asking for the sale: As a startup entrepreneur, you will spend a lot of time either raising funds or selling. In both cases, if you fight shy of asking for the sale, the yes or no answer, you’re wasting your time. If you’re not good at selling yourself and your idea, get someone on board who can do it.
Starting a business is a risky venture; in fact, 72% don’t make it to the second year. They all face similar challenges, but the smart ones overcome these challenges to grow and thrive.