We Know Startups are Tough

Startups are to an economy as cells are to a living organism. The cell is the basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known living organisms. Cells are the smallest unit of life that can replicate independently, and are often called the “building blocks of life”. Likewise a living economy requires startups for its sustainability. Startups harness the creativity, talent, courage and energy of people to build new businesses that serve customer wants and replace those businesses at the end of their lifecycle.

Thousands of platitudes are written about startups – their high failure rate, the causes of their demise or secrets of their success, and the entrepreneurial personality type. Grains of truth in most, but overall their generalizations are not scientifically founded and invite scepticism.

Robert Moment, business coach, lists desirable attributes of a successful startup: –

  • Market research
  • Master the Internet
  • Seek outside advice
  • Follow your heart and passion
  • Develop a marketing mindset
  • Make technology your friend
  • Embrace the power of partnerships
  • Learn the art of delegation
  • Be flexible and open to ideas
  • Create a financial plan

These are all fine but rather obvious and unweighted.

A tighter list from Business Insider Australia (Andreas Bernstrom), but again without justification for its selection: –

  • The business idea
  • Raising money
  • The team
  • Set the plan, measure and iterate
  • Follow the dream

Other factors – execution speed, patience, focus on adding value to your customer, a great mentor, listening to your market, resilience and pain tolerance, preventing founders’ fights – all rate mentions. An interesting one was avoiding the “passion trap” i.e. clinging obstinately to the Idea in the face of clear market messages.

But for me the most insightful and intuitively appealing is the work done by Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab, in researching over 200 startups. His case studies are current, including AirBnB and Uber.

Gross’s five leading but unranked factors were: –

  • The Idea
  • The Team and Execution
  • The Business Model
  • The Funding
  • Timing

to which he applied some science, calibrating his 200 case studies against them.

Please take 6 minutes to watch his fascinating Ted.com address here: –

https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gross_the_single_biggest_reason_why_startups_succeed?language=e n

This real world research came to a clear conclusion, very surprising at the time but already famous.

“By far the single biggest reason why startups succeed is …………”

(you can either guess or get the real oil from Bill Gross!)

Go well again this month,