This article is a little bit different to most of my posts.
In this post I want to share 5 lessons that I’ve come to realise are fundamental to startup success in the 21st century.
As you know, I help entrepreneurs design and build successful tech products that solve real problems. Needless to say, we have a great success rate. But when I look at the market and I can see that 90% (arguably more) of startups fail to commercialise it frustrates me.
But what I realised is that most startups don’t fail because they lack a ‘breakthrough model’.
Because even an average model can generate many millions of dollars per month.
They also don’t fail because their marketing strategy was flawed. Or their data was inaccurate. Or they couldn’t get funding.
Most of them don’t fail for any of those reasons.
The real reason why they fail is because of themselves… They fail because they aren’t ready to be entrepreneurs.
1. Take responsibility for your success
Source: The Keep Calm-O-Matic
Hands down, one of the biggest reasons people don’t succeed in their startup is because they don’t take responsibility for it.
In other words, they put the responsibility of their startup’s success in the hands of someone else.
The only way your business will be successful is if you do the following:
– Take complete responsibility for your business success or failure
– Hire/partner with the right people
– Do whatever it takes to get from where you are to where you need to be
– Learn the skills you need to keep it moving forward – this is really important
– Learn about your market and customer
– Raise the finance you need to fund your startup
– Work with experts to create a game plan
As a business owners we need to realise that it’s our responsibility to ensure our businesses are successful.
2. Work on your personal confidence
Source: Citizen Relations
Confidence is one of the absolute MUSTS for all entrepreneurs.
Now don’t go mistaking ‘confidence’ with cockiness or arrogance. You’ll be making a fatal mistake to your startup.
Confidence is defined as ‘the feeling that you can have faith in or rely on something.’
Arrogance is the need to be a dick about it.
Confidence doesn’t mean you have to be loud and audacious. I know plenty of successful entrepreneurs who are introverts.
But they’re still confident.
So how do you work on your confidence?
Without getting into too much detail (I can talk about this for days) the most important factor to realise is that confidence is the child of self-belief.
If you believe in yourself or if you believe that by taking a certain action you will achieve a certain result then you’ll feel…confident.
The same goes for the ‘lack’ of self-belief. It’s directly related to and affected by your beliefs.
And so the real question is; what can I do to change my beliefs?
Uh oh, now we’re getting really deep.
First off, understand that self-belief is a condition.
And a condition is a result of your environment. In fact, your current state belief is a result of your current environment.
Ask yourself this question; are you in a supportive or non-supportive environment?
If the answer is anything other than “I’m in a supportive environment and I 100% believe in my abilities” then you MUST CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Simple!
Relevant Content: Eternal Optimism: How To Survive The Startup Grind
Here are a number of aspects of your environment that need to change:
– Your friends; do you hang out with people who are supportive of your goals? Do they move you steadily towards achieving your vision? Are their visions in line with your own?
– Your habits; do you watch TV or read good books? Do you think affirmative thoughts or negative thoughts? Where does your source of information come from?
– Your home; do you feel inspired by your home? Do you live in an area that inspires you?
– Your work; do you feel inspired by your work? Does your job/boss/colleagues motivate you to be a better person?
Maybe don’t quit your job right away and please don’t think you have to ostracise your friends…but realise that maybe these aspects of your life aren’t adding to your confidence levels AND…maybe they’re holding you back.
Ask yourself this question: Do you think it’s an accident that some people are more confident and successful than others? Think again.
3. Have an empowering vision
Source: Only Positive
First off let me define ‘vision’:
It’s got nothing to do with your net worth, your income, what’s in your bank account, what cars you drive, where you live, how big your office is, how much gold you wear… I think you get the point.
Your vision has to do with the impact your business/startup will have on the world. It’s about “how your business will make OTHER’S lives better.”
Why is this so important?
- Once you have the house, the cars, the wife, the office, the net worth, the income and all the other material things that you always wanted, there wouldn’t be anything left to work hard for.
- On those cold, rainy days, when bad stuff keeps happening to you, you need a reason to keep pushing. And most of the time, money won’t do it.
- Ultimately you’re going to need to get some help. And people/staff/friends will naturally only do the bare minimum for money, but they’ll move mountains, break their back and walk a thousand miles for a vision that empowers them.
Don’t get me wrong, money’s important. Very important. And let me make this abundantly clear; I have very ambitious financial goals.
BUT what I’m saying is ”money is not the most important thing”.
The most important thing you can do before you wrap up your time on this planet, is simply this: make sure that the world is a better place because you were here. That’s it.
The other thing you need to do is stop working in a vacuum.
Talk about your vision. Talk about what you want to achieve and most importantly talk about why that’s important to you.
Ultimately, if you’re not talking about it then people won’t know how to help you.
My friends and family all know what I’m working on. Because I tell them all the time. And as a result, 13% of our total revenue comes from referrals from within my network.
(Actually, my mum doesn’t really know what I’m working on…she’s not up with ‘technology’. But she knows I work hard for…something)
Letting the world know that you’re working on something special and important makes them want to be a part of it too.
Don’t feel nervous that people are going to steal your idea.
If that’s what’s stopping you from talking about your idea then you need to read point 2 of this article again.
Be confident that you’re capable of turning this idea into a successful company. And be confident that you’re a 100 times better than your competitors could ever be.
Bring your friends and family into your inner circle and turn your friends into your PR company.
4. Manage your energy
Source: WebOS Nation
Your company’s success is 100% impacted by your performance. And your performance is 100% impacted by your health. Your health on the other hand is largely impacted by what you eat and how much you move your body…
Here’s a simple formula to follow: Eating like crap + not moving very much = lethargy
Poor performance can impact you in the following areas;
– Your decision making
– How much you can get done in a day
– How you speak to the people in your business
– The quality of your work
– And more…
If you make consistent mistakes in these areas your business will suffer. Maybe you decide to hire the wrong person who stuffs up your business. Maybe you piss your staff or customers off and they walk away. Maybe you fall behind on your workload. Maybe your customers get upset about the crappy quality of service or products you provide. Maybe people think you’re a douche because you don’t have the energy to be nice?
Any of these mistakes can kill your business within months.
So what do you need to do to stay sharp and increase your personal performance? Fuel your body with the right food and exercise moderately.
Here’s something to remember; You get what you put in.
Most people eat like crap, so their performance is crap.
When you eat like an athlete you’ll perform like an athlete.
Here’s what you need to stop eating:
– Meats and dairy
– Sugary or salty snacks (chips, chocolate, etc.)
– Processed foods
And for crying out loud STOP SMOKING! Not only does it kill you, but it steals your energy and impacts your performance!
Here’s what you need to consume more of:
– Legumes (beans, peas, etc.)
– Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, (fries don’t count…)
– Drink lots of water
– Green leaves with high iron content (kale, spinach, etc.)
Don’t take me the wrong way here, I’m not trying to tell you what you can and can’t eat.
And admittedly there are thousands of successful people who eat like crap. But statistically speaking, if you’re unhealthy your performance will be rubbish.
Normally around now people start saying: “But Logan, don’t you want to live a little bit? I mean, you only live once.”
Trust me, I don’t get my kicks from the 11 minutes that it takes to eat a meal. I get it from the explosive energy I get from a balanced diet.
Harness the right health habits and you’ll have athlete performance in your startup.
5. Master the Power of Sales
The biggest problem people have in business is a lack of cash. Which is directly impacted by sales.
Rarely is a lack of inventory or a lack of capacity an issue.
Influencing people to make the right decision is the single most important skill you could ever develop. Of course there’s a fair bit of responsibility that comes with that sort of power, so BE ETHICAL.
You may think that you don’t need sales because you’re in a tech startup. But you’re wrong. Sales is the one skill that’s transferable across all businesses, and all industries. If you don’t have it…then get it.
Sales Mastery is the ability to:
- a)Understand what someone needs
- b)Identify what makes them tick
- c)Explain to them, in their own words why you’re product/service is perfect for them (again, be ethical…)
- d)Empower them with the understanding that this is the right decision
- e)Help them attain your product/service
Notice how I didn’t say: “Trick them into buying crap they don’t need.” You need to be ethical. But that’s a given and applies to life in general.
Tech startups need the Sales as much as any other company to;
– Convince people to use their product/service (even if it’s online marketing)
– Convince investors to part with their money
– Keep staff engaged in their work and the company vision
– Engage their network
– And much more…
The power of influence is a learned skill. So if you’re not a natural influencer today, then start working on it and become one tomorrow.
BONUS: Raise your social profile
Here’s a little bonus tip for you;
Something that annoys the crap out of me is when I speak to people who want to build a successful startup but they don’t have a social profile.
Ok, they have some friends. And they’ll comment on cat videos posted on Facebook.
But what I’m talking about here is a profile that’s strong enough that when people search for you on Google, you’re the first thing that comes up.
Do this. Open up Google on your browser (or app). Search for ‘Logan Merrick’. What did you find?
Here’s EXACTLY what you’ll find; Me…and some young, ambitious priest-guy from the states…
We’re both super easy to find. And so when you search for me to see if I’m legit you’ll instantly find hundreds of pictures and links related to me.
Not only does this make me easy to find, but it also makes my businesses easy to find. In fact, anything I stick my name to now becomes a hundred times easier to find than it would have been if I didn’t have a strong social profile.
Ok, so now you know that you need a social profile. And if you don’t, please start again at the top of this article, because you clearly missed something.
How do you build a social profile?
It’s actually really easy; start sharing information that’s valuable to your online audience (whoever you want that to be) and engage in online conversations.
Here are the platforms I suggest you start with in order of importance:
– Google +
Make friends, share ideas and share information. If you really want to ace this then start your own blog.
Where to go next
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