May 12, 2016 | 3 minutes

Startups: The Three Tips I Wish I Would Have Known

By Nathan Strum


As startup entrepreneurs, we have the odds against us. With the fact that about 9 out of 10 new businesses fail, it’s a bit intimidating and discouraging to be battling it all on your own. Sometimes you may feel that you just need a sign or a sense of guidance and that any bit of advice can help. Below are a couple of nuggets that can hopefully help you get on the right foot.

Is there a true market for your product or service?

One of the most common reasons behind why many companies fail is because there is little or no market established for their products to launch in. This can have to do with a variety of different factors. Most of the time there just isn’t the need for the product. Consumers don’t find a big enough desire to commit to purchasing it. They might think it is appealing and a neat concept, but it stops there. Failing startups have difficulty bridging a neat idea into a sale.

Critical feedback

As an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to handle objections or faults that others pick up on. Although your company is like your baby, it’s important to be objective and listen to input from credible sources in order for your company to grow. CEO Elon Musk classified this as one of the most significant components that has helped him be successful with Tesla, Solar City & Space X. He notes that businesses become stronger when an entrepreneur is open to critical feedback. In every facet of your business ask for feedback. Feedback may not be necessarily music to your ears, and you don’t have to agree, but allow yourself the grace of having options. Allow yourself to be open to the idea that there are people out there that know more than you and can help.

Know your “why”

This is a fascinating and transformational concept made known by leadership and management consultant, Simon Sinek.  Sinek has found that many companies do their marketing with an “outside-in” approach. Companies come up with a product; they figure out how to do it, and then they never truly put a purpose behind their business. Sinek talks about reversing that marketing approach with an “inside-out” approach. Successful companies, like Apple, start with their why. They set a belief that explains why their business exists to begin with. They then find a solution on how to fulfill that belief. Lastly, they define what the company does to execute their core belief. When companies know their why, they know what they stand for. When what you believe in becomes your set of values, making decisions will be clear-cut.  This approach helps companies reach their full potential.

It may seem tough to succeed as a startup, but these three tips can be beneficial to move into the 10% that succeeds.

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