Starting your own business can be thrilling, nerve-wracking, and terrifying—all at once. While no secret formula for guaranteed success exists, common characteristics are pervasive in many of these startups and the entrepreneurs who created them. Here are a few:
Most new businesses have limited resources and have to disperse them with great care. Don’t waste money printing 5,000 business cards for two employees operating a company from a living room and don’t waste cash on a complex, legacy phone system when a small business virtual phone has everything you’ll need.
You are going to learn pretty quickly that once you have even a bit of success, it’s going to be difficult to do everything yourself. You have to be able to delegate work and trust that it will get done correctly and to do that, you have to make the right hires. Don’t skimp on background checks and the interview process so that you can be as close to 100 percent sure about a candidate before making a commitment.
A strong work ethic is important in any job but is particularly pervasive in founders of new businesses. You have to be willing to put in some long days but also have the focus to know where your energy needs to be directed at any given time.
It’s a near certainty that you are going to hit some hiccups as a startup and that some sacrifices will be necessary. Although the most successful startups have created billionaires, initially founders and CEOs don’t rake in the big bucks. In fact, 66 percent of Silicon Valley founders pay themselves less than $50,000 per year. But if you truly believe in what you are selling, after a few years of modest earning you may find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
OK fine: We cheated a little here. But adaptability is so important we couldn’t leave it out. To achieve startup success, you have to be flexible in your approach to product development, branding strategy and pretty much anything else. No business plan goes 100 percent perfectly; the key is making sound adjustments as you go.
Have another ‘D’ that’s essential for startups? Let us know in the comment section!