Protecting Your Startup Against Failure

Don’t dive into a startup with the mentality that it will fall into the majority that fail. Startups are meant to come out the gates with waves of optimism. The brutal fact is that younger startups are bound to hit a different type of wave: the rough water of difficult decisions.

More often than not, the success or failure of a startup falls onto the shoulders of the founders. This occurs frequently, as like most art forms, startups reflect the aspirations and ideas of the creators. As Brabble CEO and founder Patrick Mackaronis states, “If those aspirations are not set high enough to combat the challenges of modern constricted marketplaces and to navigate the high walls or barriers to entry, you are sailing on a sinking ship.”

Here are a few other pointers to keep at the forefront of your trailblazing to assist in ensuring your business will weather the storms of industry:

Set Yourself Straight

According to professor Noam Wasserman of Harvard Business School and the University of Southern California, in a study of 10,000 startup founders for his book The Founder’s Dilemma, 65% of their business failed as a result of conflict between co-founders. Most disagreements were based upon the eminent disagreements on leadership strategies and funding.

“A way to avoid this from happening,” states Mackaronis, “is to set highly transparent business goals. Keep these goals visible to all levels of the team, and stick to them. Be crystal clear on things such as leadership, money, credit, strategies, and all other high-value metrics from the start.”

Build A Thoughtful Army

Most founders are convinced that they are the only ones capable of leading their business to great success. In some cases, there is mild truth to that, dependent on the scope of the startup’s vision. To truly take a startup to the next level, in most cases you need to find a team. A handpicked network of superheroes will be as passionate about the startup as their founders.

Mackaronis suggests that once you curate your team, let them fly. Delegate without micromanaging. Limit yourself to keeping abreast of high-level decision making and changes, such as customer acquisition and branding strategies.

“The Customer Is Always Right”

With a clear cut set of goals and a solid team backbone, the next most important strategic step is to acquire and retain customers. Open a dialogue with them via social media immediately, and listen to what they have to say. Optimal customers share their thoughts on the company, as well as improvements that can be made.

Utilizing this stream of free advice will ensure that your business is always including the opinions of those who drive revenue. It’s also important to remember that developing a successful business model is not completely driven by altering every piece of your product or service based on responses from outsiders. Be selective and smart about what is tweaked.

Scale Carefully

One of the most important facets forgotten by many startup founders is forgetting to set aside funding to scale their products or services. But forgetting this is not as much of a kiss of death than the opposite end of the spectrum: scaling too quickly. Don’t create a product that is second rate, especially after creating something incredible. Build a solution that works, even if that means increasing price. Your customers won’t riot.

Pricing is a controlled object when it comes to running a startup and can be altered later. However, every time you scale, you add more resources and infrastructure to your framework. This could prove detrimental if you don’t have enough paying customers to justify the expense. So scale carefully.

Following the above pointers is simply the tip of the iceberg on the journey to a successful startup. Major takeaways: be transparent about goals and visions, build your team meticulously and then leave them alone, listen to your customers but don’t follow through on their every suggestion, and ensure you leave room to scale, but don’t sacrifice quality.