Every successful startup seems to have a crazy story behind it. From strange ad campaigns to unorthodox fundraising, startups can have weird ways of reaching success. Consider PayPal’s story.
When PayPal started out, the founders gave out ten dollars to each person who joined. They handed over more money if users got other people to join. After running their business at a loss to support this plan, PayPal was up to 1 million users after its first year.
PayPal’s launch was truly unusual. If successful startups have odd beginnings, does that mean your startup needs to find its own crazy story to succeed?
Not quite. Plenty of startups have had ordinary origins and still gone on to success. To prosper, they used basic qualities that every new business should know about. Here are five qualities you can use to create a successful startup.
Why it’s integral. There are always risks involved in creating and growing a business. Business owners often risk their savings, a steady paycheck, and having a regular cash flow. You also need to take chances to stand out from more established businesses.
For example, the Dollar Shave Club founders took a huge chance when they decided to start an e-commerce business in the razor industry. This was something that hadn’t been done before in a field that was already dominated by big companies. But the risk paid off. The Dollar Shave Club became so successful it was later sold for 1 billion dollars. Clearly, taking chances is one key to success.
How you can use this quality. Be willing to take a chance and start your business. Prepare as much as possible beforehand to mitigate losses, but be ready to risk whatever your business needs to get up and running.
Taking chances is vital for creating a successful startup, but that’s not all you need. You also have to be willing to make sacrifices.
Why it’s integral. You have to sacrifice a lot when you’re building a business. Your company will require most of your time and personal attention, or it’ll collapse. You also have to sacrifice your peace of mind. One study found that entrepreneurs are more likely to experience mental health problems when compared to employees because of how stressful running a business is. Making sacrifices isn’t easy, but it’s essential to keeping your company afloat.
How you can use this quality. Be willing to give up nonessential entertainment, like time-wasting games or TV shows, to better run your company. Prioritize your business and whatever it needs to thrive.
Now that you’re willing to make sacrifices for your startup, what else does it need to thrive?
Why it’s integral. Understanding what your customers want shows you if your product or service will be useful to them. This knowledge can help you learn where you need to improve your product or your customer experience. Most successful startups waited until they understood their potential clients before beginning operations. The social media management platform Buffer is an excellent example of this.
Before Buffer’s founder made a product or service, he got in touch with individuals who were interested in his idea. He asked for feedback on his potential service and whether people would be willing to pay for it. After he collected all this feedback, he launched a company based on what he learned. This knowledge helped him create a wildly successful business with an annual revenue of $15 million. Like Buffer’s creator, you can start your business off right by first learning what your customers want.
How you can use this quality. Research your potential customers’ needs, challenges, and buying habits. Then, build your product or service around that information. Use surveys or client interviews to discover what people like about your business and what they’d prefer you change.
After learning what your clients’ want, you need to determine what your employees need from you.
Why it’s integral. Valuing your employees increases their productivity and keeps you from losing fantastic talent. It can also attract new people to your company. Research shows that 58 percent of people would work a job with a lower salary if they had a great boss. For a startup in a tight job market, valuing your employees can mean the difference between getting the people you need or missing out.
How you can use this quality. To show your employees you appreciate them, listen to their concerns and needs. Offer job benefits they want, such as flexible scheduling or continuing education. Most importantly, show appreciation for their hard work by thanking them.
Valuing your employees is not the final step towards having a successful startup. You’ll also want to develop your communication skills.
Why it’s integral. Communicating with your employees, vendors, and customers helps you discover any problems or challenges within your company. Any issues you find should then be speedily resolved by dialoguing with your staff. Communication is crucial to success. It’s so vital that some of the largest companies set aside time to talk with their employees.
For example, Google’s co-founders communicate with the entire company by dedicating time during weekly meetings to answer questions from employees. By tying in the whole company, the founders help the rest of the employees feel connected. Regular communication with the main branch prevents remote employees from feeling isolated. It also gets the founders in touch with people they may not usually talk to.
How to use this quality. Schedule time to connect with vendors and employees. Use surveys to communicate with clients and ask for their general feedback. Then, ask more specific questions, such as “What’s one thing you would like changed about this product or service?”
Now that you’ve learned five qualities of a successful startup, are you ready to make your startup a success?
PayPal may have operated at a loss for a while to become successful, but your company doesn’t have to. By using the five qualities we’ve discussed, your startup can be successful, too.
First, prepare yourself to take chances and make sacrifices to start your own business. Next, do your homework and research your customer’s wants so you know your sacrifices will pay off. Also, place value on your employees to keep them happy and preserve your talent pool. Finally, brush up on your communication skills and respond promptly to issues that arise.
These five qualities can help all startups be successful, even without a crazy story. Though, you can still make one up if you want.