A business is made up of an offering – product or service and people – employees and customers. Add variables like time and money and you have a recipe for success or failure.
To create a success you need to do certain things right. Let us go in detail.
Make something that market demands or you think that market needs. It can be a product or a solution. There is space for both.
Hotmail offered a web-based client. Sabeer Bhatia (founder of Hotmail) and Jack Smith thought that market will like their product and market proved them right.
Google came up with a better search offering at the end of 20th century and now rule the search market.
Twitter provided people with a communication alternative and at last count were valued in excess of a billion dollars and had 100 million+ users.
Dana White with UFC introduced a large part of the world to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and created a hugely successful enterprise.
John Sperling despite being born dirt-poor came to be known as America’s Education Billionaire. He created one of world’s largest private university systems with University of Phoenix defying convention.
Do not take years to perfect and polish your offering. Ship it. It means that bring it out in the market. See the response, adapt, improve and move ahead. Keep on working and shipping – new updates, product improvement and changes in tune with times.
Users and feedback
Make your initial users your partners. If you do not have a product to show off. Juts create a webpage to accept emails and permission to send updates later. It will make sure that people who come to your website receive updates whenever you have something important to say.
Make these users a partner during beta and incorporate their feedback. It will serve two purposes — first you will create a loyal set of customers and secondly get valuable feedback from a bigger group than those who are working on the product.
More businesses close in their first year of operation than in 2nd, 3rd or later years.
When you get in – be determined to go past year 1. Do side gigs. If you are working on a software product do some software development on side to survive. When you go past year one you increase your chances of success many fold.
Success of Google did not come in one day but took couple of years. During early days Google’s main identity was being Yahoo’s search partner.
Facebook also has been in the business now for more than half a decade. Not every business can be as big (Facebook is the biggest web portal there has ever been with half a billion plus users) but you will create reasonable success when you stay there for a long time.
Of course just sitting there and doing nothing will not work; you will have to work at it. When you are in it for the long haul you also reduce your level of anxiety and see failure or success as small post on your bigger journey towards success in your venture.
Make sure that you are seen
Once you are out of the launch phase be seen at the right places. Not always on a mass scale — out in the world — but least in the mailbox of people who matter as a newsletter, whitepaper or a case study.
Also invite people to your home base — your company website in most of the cases — to share what is new. This you can do by writing useful content and releasing newsworthy products.
Create an offering that is worthy of peoples’ attention and business. Tata Motors’ Nano was worthy of attention so entire world came to see it.
Foradian Tech did it when they created new Rupee font when a new symbol was unveiled for official currency of India. They created this font before anyone else and garnered goodwill and press worth millions.
People: Create a culture that pulls right kind of partners and employees. Reward creativity. Create an environment conducive to creation. Zappos went to the extent of paying new employees to quit so that it hires people who think that company is a right fit for them.
Customers: Focus on getting your first paying customers and then first 10 customers as soon as you can. More on how to find customers later. Right customers are the ones who pay on time — in case you are not charging upfront. Those who expect good quality; repose trust in your company and do not expect you to be the least cost provider in the market (if that is not your USP, better if it is not).
Money: Save money before you start. If you need investment become investment worthy. Build a brand, show a prototype — better show some profits and then go out. Let people do the talking first.
Hope this helps.
What are the ingredients you are using to make your venture a success?