Successful Startups. This blog is all about Successful Startups or rather say, how to start or discover your own Successful Startups. As children, many of us dressed up in Halloween costumes of our favorite superheroes. We admired their abilities and wished that we could fly above the clouds, punch through brick walls, read the minds of our arch-rivals and save people in danger. But most superpowers are just enhancements of abilities we already possess. In business, we call them core competencies and improve them with years of study and discipline to overcome future challenges. They are enablers for every successful startup.
But all startup founders face formidable odds to succeed. According to the Small Business Association, about 52% of businesses started between 1994 and 2013 failed in five years and about 66% failed within 10 years. If you are working at a company in jeopardy, don’t expect Iron Man to make a superhero landing in the conference room. You‘re on your own.
After 10 or more years of managing billion-dollar acquisitions, researching industry leaders, developing business simulation technologies and working with disruptive entrepreneurs, I identified six superpowers I believe every startup should have.
1. Successful Startups: Mastermind Planning
Serial entrepreneurs like Elon Musk seem to have an uncanny ability to create synergetic management styles in their companies. From my perspective, Tesla and SpaceX reached multi-billion-dollar valuations by senior leadership translating the company vision into industry-changing action plans. But this requires unconventional approaches like peer brainstorming, deep dive sessions and brutally honest feedback.
How to get it: Practice the Pomodoro Technique in the above situations. Start by working on a critical task for 25-minute intervals, then take a short break in between and continue until the task is complete. Record the total task duration. Your team could improve its work estimation and reduce interruptions while adapting timetables to accomplish objectives.
Potential improved metrics: Higher annual recurring revenue and total contract value.
2. Successful Startups: Resistance To Stress
I’ve found that successful startup founders learn to triage conflict by determining the urgency level and business impact, then responding with a proportionate level of resources. They don’t shut off their emotions, but they become progressively better at making decisions and taking action. They also accept help more readily and acknowledge they don’t have all the answers and can’t do everything themselves.
How to get it: During stressful moments, practice stepping away from your desk, closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths before speaking to anyone or sending a flaming email. Work with your teammates to document a triage and response system based on customer impact. Run simulated drills until everyone develops the discipline and regimentation to resolve critical issues without emotional flare-ups.
Potential improved metrics: Lower month-to-month volatility.
3. Successful Startups: Market Clairvoyance
Forget insight and hindsight — you also need foresight to survive. Artificial intelligence startup Xineoh is an example of a company achieving just that. It reportedly developed a platform for predicting consumer purchasing trends. You don’t need 100% accurate predictions to gain a competitive advantage, you just need to be right more often than your competition.
How to get it: You develop market foresight by understanding how certain factors trigger a consumer response. Using advanced techniques like predictive segmentation and activity-triggered marketing campaigns can engage users when they are most likely to respond favorably. Focus on automating personalized, real-time messages to customers with the most relevant and enticing offers possible based on their purchase history and risk of churn.
Targeted metrics: More monthly active users, higher conversion rate and lower gross-churn.
4. Successful Startups: Moral Leadership
When Zakiyyah Myers and Rohan Gilkes founded Innclusive as a response to the alleged racial bias of some Airbnb hosts, they were being good stewards of morality. They engineered their web platform and booking system with safeguards to prevent discrimination. Efforts like these require aligning goals with the corporate vision, clear-cut policies, effective process controls and compliance with high service-quality standards.
How to get it: Using your own moral compass for guidance, write down the tenets that best represent your company. Now collaborate with your fellow co-founders and staff to enter them into the corporate mission statement, job descriptions, employee evaluations, and all appropriate internal and external communications.
Targeted metrics: Increased goodwill and customer retention rate.
5. Successful Startups: Super Ideation Speed
According to the Financial Post, the founder of publishing startup Onswipe said: “If you can only have one thing in a startup, pick speed.” Efforts like these require an aggressive product roadmap and the ability to rapidly anticipate market needs, generate concepts, and determine product fit for a target market. Generally, no more six-month-long requirement-gathering and design phases — I’ve noticed that more companies are launching minimal viable products and beta versions in half that time.
How to get it: Register for a local Certified Scrum Master training course in Agile product delivery. However, you’ll learn to create a product backlog with prioritized features, schedule two-week product sprints, manage 15-minute daily standup meetings, automate test scripting, and repeat this workflow in iterative cycles.
Potentially improved metrics: Lower customer acquisition cost and quicker recovery time.
6. Successful Startups: Power Deployments
Generally, companies like Apptimize with faster ideation cycles may also deploy products quicker. This is because teams are more disciplined about resolving issues to get a successful product release. Likewise, to be competitive, your deployment platform can be made highly scalable using cloud-hosted, software-defined networking. This should also include intelligent automation for rapid delivery. You can pursue continuous improvement and deployment by launching global deployments and security updates from a master console. This will help in monitoring platform and applications in real-time.
How to get it:
Request demos with service providers like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. You can benchmark the speed of deploying applications on the cloud. Once you select the right cloud provider, identify all labor-intensive tasks. These tasks should be automated to create a better service delivery model for end users.
Targeted metrics: Higher lifetime value and lower monthly burn rate.
So you don’t really need a red cape to save the day. You and your colleagues can all become “super-powered” by developing these six advanced skills. Over time, you will be assessing your competency, improving your capability and simulating your future success.