Starting a startup is no small achievement, and having the right qualities in the mix can make or break it. Coming up with a concept is a long way from turning it into a profitable business. The numbers are stark: less than half of all companies survive to the fifth year. Only around one-third mark their tenth anniversary. How can a person identify if she or he has what it takes to transform an idea into a successful company to avoid being another statistical failure? Here are five key traits of a successful startup founder.
Achieving success as a startup founder requires an unwavering vision that displays more than a dream. It must be constructed from meticulous foresight and grounded in reality. This means taking “magical thinking” methods off the table, understanding that potential obstacles and challenges arise, and connecting the points between the business plan to venture capital funding and beyond. Without this comprehensive approach to visioning the trajectory for their startup, founders put themselves at an increased risk of deviating from their intended course.
2. Team Building Ability
Team-building is essential for any successful startup, regardless of its size. Even a solo entrepreneur will need to recruit people with expertise to help them in the various aspects of their business venture — from tech developers and accountants to legal professionals and financial advisors. Therefore, these team members must be carefully selected for the best chance of success, as forming strong support structures will be necessary to see your project succeed.
3. Goal Focused
Staying goal-focused and true to the original mission of a startup is key to success. This can be difficult in today’s market, as ‘mission drift’ presents itself in many different forms daily. Founders should strive to remain disciplined and attuned to their original goal, even if being tempted by shiny new projects or momentarily forget their purpose. Ultimately, no founder should forget that their priority is to ensure the initial goals of the business are met.
4. Risk taker and flexible
Starting a business is no easy task, and risk is always involved. Being flexible and being able to adjust your business plan swiftly is essential for success in the startup world. A successful startup founder should have a risk appetite and the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing nature of the industry. Risk-taking can bring great rewards; however, one should possess the foresight and resilience to refocus their strategy according to new trends and customer needs.
Founders must be prepared for naysayers, economic downturns, unexpected legal obstacles, inappropriate regulations, and bad weather; all of which can threaten to end the venture. However, the successful startup founder sees such obstacles as part and parcel of a challenge they must overcome. One must maintain the attitude that no matter what might arise, they were always aware that there would undoubtedly be problems along their journey — but undeterred by them.
Mistakes to avoid in a start-up
Starting a start-up can be an exciting journey, but it comes with many pitfalls. To avoid these common errors, start-ups should ensure that they are fully prepared in the long term and equip themselves with the necessary resources before launching their business. Shortcuts such as not having proper market research or financial planning may be tempting, but this will also prove costly in the long run. Here are some common mistakes to avoid in your start-up journey.
- Not having an idea who your customer is
- Being too focused on your product instead of your customer’s problems
- Not knowing how to acquire customers
- Not building an MVP
- Missing a plan to scale your business
Winston Churchill was a remarkable leader whose favorite saying was, “The bulldog’s nose is inclined backward so it can breathe without letting go.” Success for startups involves
- identifying opportunities,
- taking risks,
- letting go of control,
- having strong leadership, and
- having persistence.
When a founder is confident that his or her vision is accurate, this is the essence of what he or she must undertake.
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