In the mist of the noise about what matters for startups and how startups can succeed, a few ideas and principles stand out. If you get it right, customers and users will gravitate to you and your business.  And you will get the attention you expect or deserves from investors, partners and prospective users or customers.

Here’s what matters right now for your new startup on the road to success.

1. A visionary CEO.

Every business needs a great leader who knows where to take the business and the kind of people to take along to achieve the grand vision of the company. If you lack a visionary, it could take you longer to figure out where you are going and what to do to get there whilst you still have time. Your leadership should be thinking about the opportunities of tomorrow rather than focusing on the problems of the past.

2. A well-known path to success.

When you get to start your business, you will realize that most of the things you planned and wrote in a business plan don’t get done. Your ideas will always look good on paper. The real deal is when you actually start and begin to get things done. In as much as you don’t get things done the way you expect, you still need a clear focus on what you actually want to do. You should know what should be achieved this week , next week and the following month.

3. An excellent team that can get the real work done.

Your first few employees are your greatest assets as a business. The most important decision you will ever take is the kind of people you bring in to work with you to build the foundation of your new business. The first team creates the company culture and defines how soon the company gets real work done. Don’t compromise your first new hires.

4. Passionate employees.

Don’t just hire smart people with the grades. You need more than qualification to make it to the top. How passionate are your current employees about your product, employees and the overall vision.

Look out for people with entrepreneurial skills and the hunger to achieve something significant in life and career. Keep an eye on those who initiate projects and are keen on creating something new. You need people with creative minds  and a lot of perseverance to sell your product.

5. A strict focus on solving a single problem!

Most people are good, actually better at doing one thing and doing it well. Your business should adopt that. Focus on being great at one thing and your brand will be noted for being good at it. Zappos wants to be known to sell shoes with the customer in  mind. They want to be great at customers and it works for them. Focus on a handful of key features that will retain most of your customers. Don’t do try to solve every problem in your product.

6. A good marketing message that tells a story.

It’s not just about marketing anymore, it’s about a marketing message that connects with customers. What’s your story. You may have watched recent videos of popular brands like Coca Cola, Nissan, Ford or Nike. They are now telling stories people can relate to.

Check out their social profiles and you will see what I am talking about. Nike now allows consumers to design their own custom shoes; now that’s a new level. You may not have a marketing budget like Nike, but nobody stops you from telling remarkable stories with the little resources you have. Tell simple stories in a great way. Measure your current marketing strategy and stick to what works and start telling more convincing stories.

5. A strategy to attract and retain customers.

The paradox of choice is still in the interest of the consumer. You can easily loose your customers to the competitor next door. It’s that easy! And guess what your competitor will happily help your existing clients move their data successfully. What strategies do you have to attract and retain customers? What is your unique selling proposition?

6. Do you make room for feedback?

User experience is everything. Do you listen to your customers when they speak? Your customers are in a better position to help you improve your product. You don’t have to implement everything they say, but listen to their problems and help them fix the problems they face when they use your product. You owe them that. Don’t just create social profiles in a bid to attract new customers, respond to their feedback, opinions or comments.

What strategies have worked for your successful startup? Share with us in the comment box below.

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