One of the biggest developments of the business world occurred in the early 2000s. It wasn’t the development of the internet, and it definitely wasn’t the development of the modern computer, but it was something else entirely.
That was a time when everything seemed possible, and anyone with a dream big enough could turn it into reality.
That development was the emergence of Silicon Valley. While the term itself was coined in 1971, it wasn’t until the year 2000 when internet-based, smaller companies started popping up there that revolutionized the business community.
That’s where the startup culture really took its roots.
Even though it is a culture in itself, it still follows the same rules of entrepreneurship that larger businesses do, albeit on a smaller scale.
While thousands of small startups are established every year, a very small number actually succeeds.
Startups fail for a number of reasons, but most of them make very similar mistakes.
Let’s look at what some successful entrepreneurs have to say about setting up a successful business.
1. You’re Not Patient Enough
“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone, Co-Founder, Twitter
One of the biggest reasons startups fail nowadays is that people assume that they’ll hit it off instantly. It doesn’t work that way. Success takes time, patience, and determined effort.
2. You Give Up Too Soon
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan, NBA Player
Perseverance is crucial for a successful business. Failure is simply another lesson on what not to do, not an absolute conclusion of your efforts. Startups often fail because they don’t keep trying to get it right.
3. You Don’t Fail Enough
“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk, Founder, Tesla Motors and SpaceX
Failure is a natural part of our learning process. It isn’t something we should be afraid to do because whenever we’re trying to make a new groundbreaking discovery, or create something new and innovative, we’ll fail 9 out of 10 times. Those failures are by far our best assets, because that’s how we learn.
4. You Don’t Love What You Do
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and Former CEO, Apple
One of the easiest paths to failure is to do something you don’t love, or not love what you do. As soon as you stop loving your work, you stop giving it your best, and that often results in unsatisfied customers.
If you love your work, your customers will love you.
5. You Don’t Believe in Yourself
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company
One of the most common mistakes people make nowadays is that they don’t believe in themselves. Our thoughts drive our actions, and our belief in ourselves affects the outcomes significantly. If you start something while thinking you’ll fail, you will.
6. You Don’t Realize What Your Consumer Wants
“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas, Founder, Wendy’s
One of the best ways to shut down your startup before you get it up and running is to assume what your product is and what your customers want.
The best way to counter this is to go out there, meet your customers, and ask them what they want in a product like yours.
7. You Fail to Deliver Enough Value
“Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, Co-Founder, Google
One of the best ways to win loyal customers is to surprise them by giving them more than what they expected.
Most startups fail to do this and often serve up underwhelming products that customers forget as soon as they find something better. Give them more value, and they’ll remember you.
8. Learn From Your Mistakes
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” – Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
Making mistakes is a natural progression. We err, we learn, we adapt. Unless we learn from our mistakes, those experiences and hard work we put in all go to waste.
9. You Think You Know It All
“Watch, listen, and learn. You can’t know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.” – Donald Trump, Chairman, Trump Organization and Trump Plaza Associates, LLC.
One major flaw in most of us is our ego. We wrongfully start believing that we know everything, and end up making some of the worst mistakes we can, simply because of it.
10. You Don’t Learn From Unhappy Customers
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Founder and former CEO, Microsoft
If a customer isn’t satisfied with your work, you should ask them what they didn’t like instead of getting annoyed. Bad reviews and criticism are assets as well.
Learn from them, and make sure you don’t make those mistakes again. If a customer sees you care enough to ask what made them unhappy, and remedy it, they’ll stick with you through anything.
Setting up a startup is oftentimes easy, but keeping it afloat isn’t. A lot of hard work and determination go into successful startups and that’s what sets them apart from the riffraff.
Are you running your own startup? What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far? Share your experiences in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.