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Key Ingredients for a Successful Startup

Author: Ajay Jain
President and CEO, Quantum Secure
Key Ingredients for a Successful Startup -By-Ajay Jain
Today’s tough economy and financial outlook provides a sobering reminder that an abundance of capital (as was the case recently) is not the only ingredient to building a business. Young entrepreneurs often see ‘access to capital’ as their biggest challenge. However, the two more important factors to successful entrepreneurship and start-ups are:

1. The business idea/gap in the economic fabric that is being patched by the new products/ services offerings and an incredible focus on that alone

2. The attitude of the founders and the incessant inner drive to succeed in business.

Entrepreneurs must focus on building an incredibly enduring business—one that can last for a long time, all the while demonstrating a sustained market value. The business idea/gap one is trying to fulfill must be based upon a solid foundation of innovation; without which the value proposition always will remain on a shaky ground.

Innovation does not mean radical changes but rather, a consistent dose of enhancements to products/services and a continual desire to explore better means of conducting business. The reason for a large number of failures in the world of start-ups is the lack of real innovation in business ideas despite the abundance of available capital. Without innovation in an already-crowded market, start-ups will have an extremely hard time solidifying their value proposition for their core target audience and creating a business that is built for the long term.

For example, consider the role of innovation at Apple. The company was founded on the principle of changing the world and “thinking differently”, yet in the 80’s became stagnant due to failed products, poor business decisions and a lack of creativity after Steve Jobs’ departure. With his return to Apple in 1996, the company re-ignited its innovation engine and has become the global standard— not only for PCs but also for the entire category of consumer electronics. Their product mix spans across hardware, software, audio, video, PCs, servers and cloud computing. Talk about how to “Think Different”!

The second point is the most important one in creating a successful start-up, the attitude of the founders. It is a vital aspect of success as it deals with letting go of one’s own ego, the biggest roadblock for founders in building a successful business and forming a winning team. Generally, successful founders come with ‘Type A’ personalities, a necessary ingredient in making a start-up successful. Type A personalities come with a healthy mix of personal ego, impatience, a sense of urgency, aggression and ambition – all qualities needed to push a start-up through each stage in its lifecycle. However, the key for successful founders is to understand when to set aside their egos and how to focus on core business essentials.

The young entrepreneurs should focus on solving actual problems and not the perceived ones. One must look at the business problem with the critical eyes of an outsider rather than the complacency of an insider, at the same time mindless of the trap of the endless loop of ‘analysis paralysis’. Make quick but thoughtful, well-researched decisions. Ask yourself honestly – why will you succeed? Why will customers buy products from you? How big is the problem? If the problem is not big, chances are either there are many “me-too” players already in the market or the barriers to entry are very low.

Spend time in understanding of your future customers and their behaviors. Once you have a clear problem definition to solve and good understanding of the customer, be incredibly focused on that alone. Remove all other distractions from your mind, follow your passion and commit to your own success relentlessly.
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Reader's comments(4)
1: From: Mrs. Mary David

This mail may be a surprise to you because you did not give me the permission to do so and neither do you know me but before I tell you about myself I want you to please forgive me for sending this mail without your permission. I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the will of God for you to help me and my family, God almighty will bless and reward you abundantly. I need an honest and trust worthy person like you to entrust this huge transfer project unto.

My name is Mrs. Mary David, The Branch Manager of a Financial Institution. I am a Ghanaian married with 3 kids. I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars. This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the manager made as profit last year (i.e. 2010 financial year). I have already submitted an annual report for that year to my head office in Accra-Ghana as I have watched with keen interest as they will never know of this excess. I have since, placed this amount of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars on an Escrow Coded account without a beneficiary (Anonymous) to avoid trace.

As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account on my behalf. I agree that 40% of this money will be for you as a foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, and 60% would be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It's going to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund so that the fund can be transferred to your account.

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All correspondence must be via my private E-mail (dmary4love1@yahoo.fr) for obvious security reasons.

Best regards,
Mrs. Mary David.
Posted by: mary lovely david - Monday 26th, September 2011
2: Hi my dear,
My name is Mounace, i would like to establish a true relationship with you in one love. please send email to me at (mounace43@yahoo.com) i will reply to you with my picture and tell you more about myself. thanks and remain blessed for me,
Your new friend Mounace
Posted by: mounace love love - Thursday 09th, June 2011
3: Hi my dear,
My name is Mounace, i would like to establish a true relationship with you in one love. please send email to me at (mounace43@yahoo.com) i will reply to you with my picture and tell you more about myself. thanks and remain blessed for me,
Your new friend Mounace
Posted by: mounace love love - Thursday 09th, June 2011
4: I think the most important things is to set the startup goals early, come up with a vision statement and establish the customer relationship | varuous methoods like values, mission which are from short term as well as long term for retaining the clients.
Posted by: Sharad Garg - Thursday 21st, January 2010
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