It’s a scary fact that well over 90% of start-up businesses fail within their first year. Then there are those few that take off. So the question is, what makes for a successful start-up? Is it timing, management, money, a great product and/or service? The answer is…yes.
You see, there are many reasons that businesses fail, and usually it’s not just one main “thing” that sinks the ship. Business is like life in a sense that it needs a good balance of “things” to thrive. For example, you could have a great product or service, yet have lousy management, and that company’s headed for the ditch. Good management with a product concept that won’t sell…won’t go so far. But usually, it does take a good product to attract good management.
A lot of people think that if they just have enough money, they can make anything happen. Truth be told, money can be more of a hindrance than a plus in a new start-up. When you have an inexperienced management team with money, they tend to throw money at the problems, and out from every crevasse comes all sorts of money-sucking “solutions” to your problems.
And…we’ve seen great management teams launch hugely successful companies on a shoestring budget. So the failure or the success, therefor, truly lies in the hands of the management team behind the company.
Notice the word “team” when we talk about management? This really is where the balance must lie. Once you have a good product, your number one objective is to harness a good team that can address the many facets of creating a successful business. So when you talk about a good balance of ingredients, such as money and money management, legal, operations, production, CS, HR, PR, marketing and advertising, sales and sales management…with a start-up that requires many different departments such as this, you’ll need people with the specific strengths in each area to help ensure a solid foundation from which your company can grow.
Let’s say that you are a smaller start-up company, and there are only a couple of partners pulling the strings – and doing so on a shoe-string budget. Now let’s assume that the product is of great value and is in high demand. You have the beginnings of a successful enterprise, but even as a small business, your core team must be proficient in all of the business basics. This means that managing money, making sure things are legal, handling the customers, making the sales, fulfilling the product, creating and following a plan with a purpose and objective – ALL of these things are important to your success. If your core team lacks in certain areas, GET MORE HELP! Learning on the job, so to speak, especially in a start up business, can be devastating. Management mistakes cause the majority of business flops. One wrong decision can take you down the road to disaster.
Which brings me to my next topic…Mentors. This is especially important for the lessor business savvy Entrepreneurs with business start-ups. It’s a given that you won’t know the answer to all of the questions that will arise in your new business. This is why it’s so important to have someone who has “been there and done that” to help guide the way. Finding someone who has done what you are trying to accomplish will help you avoid so many potential obstacles, pit-falls and roadblocks. Having an experienced captain helping you steer the ship will go a long way in helping to ensure a successful launch and future for your new business start-up. How do you find a good mentor? Thank goodness for technology, and websites like LinkedIn. You can befriend retired CEOs and successful professionals in your field. I would highly recommend that you do this right away, if you haven’t already.
There is one very important aspect of every business start-up that is key to success. Without it, you’ll fail…no matter how good your management team or your product. What is this all-important aspect that can ultimately be the downfall, or the reason for huge success in your new company? Exposure. Exposure is key to success in any business. I’ve heard people say, supply a great product at a good price and people will come from miles around to buy it. The “build it and they will come” idea is nice and all, but the simple fact is, if no one knows about your product or service, it won’t sell. As they say, the three most important things for a new business… LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.
This actually translates into EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE, EXPOSURE. On or offline, brick and mortar or virtual, you need exposure to get customers. Many first-time Entrepreneurs open a new business because they have a passion for or are good at supplying the product or service. Once they get into business, they quickly realize that they need to be good at promoting their new business too.
Today, the most cost effective form of marketing is Social Media Marketing, or what I like to call “Conversational Marketing”. Our firm has been building large and small campaigns for our clients for the last decade. Our clients span from Jay Leno and Donald Trump, to Disney, Epson, Fender and Bosch. The key to our success today is that we can go into any client and guarantee that we can outperform ANY form of traditional media that they may use, or have used in the past…AND we can do it for far less money too! So if you are a business start-up, learning and implementing Social Media Marketing strategies in your new business is a MUST. Whether you are a new bakery on the corner, or a large multinational firm, Social Media can bring you customers, and is a MUST in order to compete in just about any industry today.
Above all, success is a process, not a destination. If you have passion, diligence and are committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed, success can be yours!
Best of luck in all that you do!
Robert Kuntz is the Chief Technology Officer for MORE Media Group, a 10 year old full service media agency located in Redondo Beach, CA and specializes in creating “conversational marketing campaigns” for their clients.
The Social Media industry has exploded so much this last couple of years that our small agency is expanding to meet the need. We are also creating joint venture and creative partnerships too…And we’re looking for professional sales reps, and equity partners. If you are looking for lucrative opportunities in new media, check out the links on this site, and fill out the contact form to meet with one of our partners personally. (Ventures section details our current expansion and extended efforts in other areas – password is: venture2012)