Owning a business is very appealing to people for many reasons — you get to be your own boss, work with amazing people, create your own schedule and turn a passion into a career. There is nothing easy about it, though.
Often, first-time entrepreneurs jump in head-first and become blindsided by the reality of running a business. So, what does it take to launch a successful business? I spoke with several business owners via a HARO query and came up with five factors that are key contributors to business success.
1. An innovative business idea
If you want a shot at surviving, especially in a competitive industry, you need to determine what sets you apart from the other available options. Clever marketing or an exciting technology alone won’t guarantee that your target customers will be wowed by what you’re offering — you have to offer real value and/or a new experience.
Richard Werbe, founder of micro-tutoring service platform StudyPool, explains his strategy for coming up with an innovative business idea, saying, “You have to pay attention to trends. Most people think they have to come up with an entirely original idea, but you can take current popular trends and build from what you’re already seeing out there, creating an improved service or product.”
The market will dictate whether your business will succeed — nothing else — and one way to stack the odds in your favor is to have an innovative product or service that will be well-received. You don’t have to completely reinvent something — just make it better.
2. The right talent
The long-term success of your business requires that you assemble the right talent to build your brand. Your team is the company’s backbone, and one cancerous person can completely derail your progress. Whether you are building an on-site team or a remote workforce, one thing remains the same — the right talent matched with the same vision will greatly improve the chances of success.
Kip Skibicki, founder of Top Notch Threads, understands the importance of assembling an all-star team. “When I started my company, I didn’t have a lot of connections, but I was committed to building a team that shared my vision, along with possessing the desired experience and know-how for each role,” said Skibicki.
Building a business requires a tremendous amount of work during the startup phase. Long hours and the up-and-down roller coaster ride is much more enjoyable when the entire team is willing to push hard to accomplish goals and hit milestones together.
3. Your network
Building a personal network of like-minded entrepreneurs has several benefits. It gives you a sounding board for when you have questions or want advice, which is a huge help, especially in the early stages of a business. As your network grows, so do your resources.
I’m a member of several professional groups and I am constantly networking. Personally, my network has been a huge part of my success, and seeing how beneficial ts has been led me to start the Mastermind House, a new virtual networking opportunity for entrepreneurs.
“Every business, from a large law firm to a small single member startup, can benefit from having a strong network. As you become more comfortable networking, your network’s size and ability to help you solve problems and make wise business decisions increases. I highly suggest you carve out time from your schedule to dedicate to networking,” advises Adam Zayed, founding partner of Zayed Law Offices.
4. Hard work
If you’re not willing to get your hands dirty and work in the trenches, you might as well not even start. A lot of potential entrepreneurs have a false sense of what it’s really like to own a business. The media likes to glorify the startup life, but it’s not all Lamborghinis and private planes. You have to be willing to put the work in if you want to be successful.
Before launching the American International English Teachers’ Association, Zac Grove was helping other educational technology startups raise funds and build operations. This allowed him to learn the industry ropes, later applying this knowledge to his passion project.
“After working in ed-tech, I realized that my passion in life was launching solutions to bring about change. I would never have had the confidence to venture out on my own had I not first paid my dues and learned about building a solid business by working at another venture,” says Grove. Consider developing the skills, insights and experience needed by working for another company — it’s a viable option that can pay off long-term.
There is one thing that will quickly prove the viability of your product or service — sales. Not only do sales prove you have something viable, but it also injects revenue into your business, allowing you to grow and avoid
Carlo Cisco is the founder and CEO of Select, a private community that offers access to exclusive events and promotions at restaurants, hotels, nightlife venues and retailers. In order for Cisco to create a footprint for his business, he prioritized sales from the beginning.
“As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly selling your vision to current and prospective employees, partners, investors and advisors,” says Cisco. “Know your pitch and practice relentlessly. You need to be confident pitching one-on-one, to a room of hundreds of people or to senior executives.”
Ideas are great, but without sales to accompany them they will likely fail. Mark Cuban constantly talks about how success is based on sales. Entrepreneurs who are great at sales give their business a competitive advantage.