There are manifold reasons why any person(s) would start up something — a relationship, a movement, a program, a business et al.
It might probably be that such has identified or created a vacuum that is visible and needs be filled, with the hope that it will solve the problem, address a challenge, bring in rewards etc.
From the foregoing, the generality will expect every startup to stay up. Howbeit, desire and hope alone will not sustain it, irrespective of its strength and genuineness of intent.
Allow me to prod you a bit. You do you know one person (to say the least) who runs a successful enterprise, as well as another familiar face or name who started out a business venture that is non-operational today, right?
Like me, you must have asked yourself why they ran out of business.
Many thoughts, reasons – justifiable or not – might have crossed your mind, and, possibly, being unanswered, have informed your decision to seek only paid employment, or to never start a business of your own. Well, I believe we can clear the air as you read on.
Do you know that only 20% of startups (i.e. one out of five new organizations) may eventually survive their first five years in operation?
No business or organization becomes established in a day. Most often, it takes many months of strategic planning before launching, many attempts at failing without quitting, or, tweaking and reinventing of models before it attains a certain level of celebrated success.
In other words, there is a process in time before a STARTUP can be regarded as a going concern, to eventually becoming a household name.
Every startup looks forward to when they become mega businesses – in value delivery, social enterprise, asset accumulation and profit maximization et al.
Yet many entrepreneurs tend to undermine the process that it takes to build one into a success story.
Let’s surmise below how a startup can stay up successfully.
HOW CAN A STARTUP STAY UP?
Understand the goal of the business
“Why must I be in business?”. This is probably a question every would-be entrepreneur must ask. The answers one comes up with, will greatly influence the goal, the trajectory and lifespan of the business.
If I may add, while profit is key, it should not be the only premise why one must venture into any business.
Give the business its own identity
Perhaps the second biggest challenge posed to entrepreneurs lies in understanding that a business is an entity of its own, and must be treated as such.
Now, because it is expected that the business funds the family, no sooner has it been established than it becomes the go-to for all supplies.
Before long, capital and reinvestment is diminished, leading to bankruptcy and liquidation.
Define the role of the entrepreneur (partners) in the business
No business will successfully run itself without the input of staff, partners, suppliers, resources, etc.
One might excuse the inexperience of persons starting a business. However, once the business is in operation, no probable excuse to fail will be tolerated.
A good way to define the role and framework of a startup is to understand and draw up its business canvas.
Times change, so do business requirements, and consumer needs likewise. A key component to helping a startup stay up is to apply proactive measures.
While others might take for granted measures like stock taking, accounting, customer service, after sales service and retention, etc a would-be successful startup follows up on all to ensure that continuity and loyalty is established.
With this in place, profit will surge as well as the relevance of such startup in the public space.
Build your Team
One might have started a business alone, yet, such should never remain alone. The place of growing or having a team cannot be overemphasized.
Team work is better, smart work. With better management, the scope is broadened, time is saved, energy is well dispensed, efforts are rewarded, value increases, and growth becomes predictable as well as progressive.
“If one has gone far, it is because such has stood on the shoulders of elders”, quotes a popular adage. There literally is no new experience.
Rather, we have personalised experiences. At each step of the way, there are experts and mentors who have done similar things.
Reach out to them, seek professional advice, filter the feedback received and implement it. Never take for granted their time and experience. It always can save you enormous cost – in time and resources.
Know your competition
Though you are in business for a thousand good reasons, there are entrepreneurs also in that line of business (as yours), who have one reason more that can edge you out. They are your competition.
You must know them, and keep them closer. Howbeit, know and have a healthy level of competition.
For example, today, it will seem imbalanced to pit a local luxury footwear maker like Outfeetscsc with Zara or a real estate agency like Hujehomes with Landwey as her competition. In time, they may be at par, or the former becomes renown.
Loud your horn
No one is responsible for promoting you (your business) like you. Be an unashamed, undaunted, unapologetic evangelist of what you do. If you know it is legal, and you know it will bring value to another, why keep mute?.
Engage your audience until, (in the words of Ubong King) you get their attention. What was not possible few decades ago is now made easier for you.
Today, you can have unlimited presence in the homes, hands and faces of your target audience when you engage social media advertising, word-of-mouth marketing (or network marketing as I call it) et al.
As the business advances, the entrepreneur must learn to put in place systems that allow for the work/business to run efficiently, and not one that is built around one or two persons.
The term “leverage” is perhaps the next most important word every startup must understand – early. In line with the basic principles established in running a business, leverage should be added.
Yes, you heard right. “A fruit does not fall far from its tree”. The (success or failure of a) business can be judged by the brains behind it and the force pushing it.
It must remain a core culture within an organisation that the entrepreneur and entire team constantly upgrade to stay relevant, else, they will in time become obsolete and replaced.
Samsung, JP Morgan, and proudly Dangote etc. are celebrated global brands today because they learn how to stay flexible and adapt – understanding the times, the peculiarities of their immediate environment, and consumers ever pressing needs.
Besides Alabukun, I strive to find another local homogeneous enterprise that has reached or surpassed the eight decades landmark operations in Nigeria. Like the sons of Issachar, they have constantly evolved, and do thrive.
Dear Young Professional, listen! The world needs what you have. Believe it or not, your startup is sufficient to keep many families up, connected and happy for a long time.
Howbeit, it will require you learning, unlearning, and relearning more about yourself, your customer needs, your business needs, the markets, tax and legal regulations, technology etc., then, applying same generously, proactively, and productively every day.
Until I learn about your success story, dear STARTUP, kindly STAY UP.
Tell us your story, we’ll love to learn from it.