Many of today’s billion-dollar companies began as humble startups, sans support from venture capitalists or crowd funders. Their founders were ordinary people like you with practical venture ideas. For example, the founders of Starbucks were three freshly graduated students from the University of San Francisco who began their coffee business by simply selling coffee beans themselves. Similarly, Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was a college dropout working out of his garage during his company’s startup days. Even today, an impressive start isn’t necessary for a startup’s success.
The following tactics can be more useful than fame or fortune in the development of your startup and are proven by the humble beginnings of many of today’s successful companies. Tip: they don’t include pre-existing fortune or success.
Steer into the eye of the storm: The centers of competitive markets are often ideal places for startups to flourish. They highlight a trending interest but also where potential improvements could be developed into new businesses. Ex. The smartphone industry is a very competitive market today - perhaps there is a common glitch among smartphones that your startup serves as a solution for?
Fill a hole: Use competitors to reveal where the performance holes in your industry of interest are. Reinvent existing behavior with a superior consumer experience: once you find where the “holes” in your industry’s services are, fill them with your product. Supply your target market with better technology than they currently use. They should need to replace their current technology with yours, once it becomes available to them.
Sometimes, no experience is the best kind of experience: Stepping into an industry for the first time brings a fresh perspective – bright ideas to the (old) table, and most importantly the kind of passion that only comes with untried innovation. According to Medium.com, Three-out-of-four of successful companies were built and run by people who were doing it for the first time.
Better doesn’t mean brilliance: Surprisingly, brilliance is often not the secret to a successful startup. Instead, develop upon an existent simpleminded model: do what others are trying to do – but better. Far-fetched or extravagant startup ideas often lack a reliable market for their consumption. Furthermore, a brilliantly unique startup idea might be seen as a risky bet by investors.
A company that is not growing is shrinking : Growth done right often catalyzes a domino effect. Good ideas grow quickly as companies. Top investors know this and need to be able to see some growth in an idea to justify funding it. When companies plateau in their growth, they lose cash as they lose to competitors who surpass them. The startup industry moves quickly, so your team must stay on top of fixing glitches and following criticisms to stay afloat.
Above all else, passion keeps it going: A dwindling of passion often results in a pause - sometimes permanent, in growth. It's hard to startup again after slowing down during a loss of faith, as explained above. You invest the most time and resources in the things that you love most. Therefor, you have the best chance at succeeding with the idea that you love most. If it all comes crashing down, at least you'll be forced to get over your first love and find your next in the idea bank. If you don't love it, don't do it.
Assuming that your startup is the solution to a common problem, the perfect combination of practicality and good luck seems to be the key to startup success.