The founders of Meetup, Stage Ten Atlanta, and CORE agree that there are vital strategies that every budding entrepreneur should know before launching their own business. While their companies offer wildly different products, the founders support these top 4 tips for launching, and perpetuating, a successful startup.
Tip 1: Establish A Powerful Plan
According to Adam Toren, the author of Small Business, BIG Vision, it’s essential to establish a solid business plan ahead of time. “Research online, visit conferences in your industry, talk to experts and search for mentors,” Toren recommends.
Corey Bailey, the founder of the towing startup Stage Ten Atlanta, agrees with Toren’s insights, and notes that the key objective for a startup founder is not necessarily bringing something brand new to the industry, but founding something that is better than a consumer’s current options. While Bailey recognized that other towing companies were already established in the industry, he focused on quality and elevating the industry standards in order to set Stage Ten apart from other businesses.
Scott Heiferman, who founded the social media site Meetup, recommends that founders in the planning stages focus on and solve one problem at a time to avoid chaos. He advises founders to step back and ask themselves a simple question when they get wrapped up in problems and concerns: “What puzzle am I solving?”
Even if your company provides multiple services, a founder’s focus should be on clearly identifying and solving one issue at a time, says Heiferman.
The pros agree: research your industry, make a plan, and tackle problems one by one.
Tip 2: Learn To Work Effectively With Your Team
Bailey emphasizes the importance of building a team you can rely on. “Hire the right people,” he says emphatically. “Stage Ten Atlanta is kept in motion by individuals who are passionate, dedicated, and fully invested in our vision.”
Bailey encourages entrepreneurs to hire candidates with skills that complement the strengths of existing team members. “Look for workers with positive attitudes and true interest in their positions,” he says.
Jennie Enterprise, the founder and CEO of the Manhattan club CORE, emphasizes the value of keeping in constant contact with these key team members. “Make sure you’re asking the right questions,” she says. Enterprise recommends ensuring that your team members understand how the work they’re doing could make a positive difference in a customer or client’s life.
Meetup’sHeiferman adds, “You need a team that’s going to care about this thing as much as you do.” He recommends forming a “band of brothers (and sisters)” as you build your core team.
According to the pros, to elevate your startup and build a successful team, care about one another, communicate, and support each other’s skillsets.
Tip 3: Be Passionate
Heiferman believes that a passionate belief in your startup is an absolute must. “If there was a Meetup when I was going to start Meetup, I would have gone to work for them, not started it,” he admits.
According to Enterprise, you should be “fanatically obsessive” about the concept behind your startup in order to truly turn your vision into a success. “There’s a chance others may view you as delusional,” she concedes, “but for your idea to succeed, you need a complete commitment, an obsessive commitment, a fanatical commitment.”
Bailey at Stage Ten Atlanta recommends coupling your passion with realistic planning and honest hindsight. He recommends openly recognizing weaknesses in your industry so that you can take steps to revolutionize those weaknesses with your startup. Use your passion to “create a different approach than other business owners,” he recommends, to maximize your chances of becoming a household name.
Tip 4: Your Leadership is Everything
Bailey, Heifer man, and Enterprise all agree that a leader’s vision is ultimately the fuel that propels a startup team to success. Heifer man recommends keeping in touch with your own concept for the company by constantly considering how users will interact with your product or services. Create a useful product and make sure you fully understand your user base, he recommends.
Bailey confirms the importance of taking responsibility for your actions and decisions as an entrepreneur. “With Stage Ten Atlanta, I learned that modern entrepreneurs have a large weight on their shoulders, whether they’re hiring new team members, improving the business, or pushing for stronger performance by the company,” he says.
While managing CORE, Enterprise learned to pair vision with a combination of humor and humility. “Yes you need to be obsessive, yes you need to be fanatical, but you also need empathy and fundamental kindness,” she says. “You cannot overstate the importance of being nice, staying humble, and having a sense of humor.” Enterprise attests that a leader’s positivity, humor, and humility will carry team members through difficult times.
Planning, Teamwork, Passion, Leadership: The Pro Recipe for Startup Success
Startup founders can attest to the challenges faced by entrepreneurs as they brave the market and strive to satisfy consumers and achieve their vision. Author Adam Toren highlights the enormous risks and rewards posed by a new venture: “When you take the leap with your big vision, you’ll either bounce, crash, or fly,” he writes.
But the leaders behind Meet up, Stage Ten Atlanta, and CORE agree that the risk is worth it, with a little foresight and a lot of passionate hard work. “Like all entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that challenges and setbacks are simply part of the process,” Bailey says. “But owning Stage Ten Atlanta taught me that the risk is one hundred percent worth the reward if you are tenacious, positive, and proactive.”