Startups are hard. It takes a look of effort and hard work to pull it off. Even after throwing every possible resource at your new business, you could still fail. By default what you’re doing is difficult and hard to pull off, and your chances of success are minuscule by any objective measure. Having said that, there are ways to improve your odds and increase your likelihood of survival in the face of difficulty in your first year as a startup.
1. Jason M. Lemkin, co-founder/CEO EchoSign, acquired by Adobe. Co-founded NanoGram Devices, acquired by Greatbatch.
To survive the full first year of a start-up … you have to get rid of the non-believers.
You have to get them out during the first year. There will be insufficient proof even 12 months in that it will really, truly work. Some won’t believe, and that will be logical. At first it’s OK, maybe. But then, they become toxic after the first year, the non-believers.
They may be right. You may fail.
But — get ’em out.
2. Jonathan Weinberg, Founder and CEO of AutoSlash.com.
You know why most startups fail in the first year? Because it usually takes longer than a year to launch a successful business. Most entrepreneurs totally underestimate this. They either run out of steam or money or both. They lack the focus and commitment to see it through. Not every business will be successful, but if you have the drive and determination to find a way–any way to make money, your chances of success go up exponentially.
Stay lean and stay focused. Assume it will take five times as long as you think and take the slow and steady approach. Capitalize on any opportunity you can, and try to move at least an inch every day one way or another.
3. Amin Ariana, Technical Founder, hacker at several ventures.
Like a Greek philosopher once demonstrated to his disciple, your head must be under water gasping for air for you to demonstrate your ultimate struggle for survival. Any struggle before that moment is you faking it without knowing it.
When I left fulltime to start a company, in my mind I had a 6 month runway.
It took a year and a half just to learn that I was on the wrong road. And another year to make the same effort going down the right road.
You underestimate your ability to adapt and endure until you wake up someday and realize that despite the road behind and the road ahead, you’ve mastered fear and learned to learn. When your eyes are finally open, you won’t count how many years have passed and how many remain to the finish line. You wake up, drink your coffee and get to paint the masterpiece.
In the meantime, I recommend reading “Getting to Plan B” by Randy Komisar. It will partly open your eyes.
This journey you’re on is not about the startup. It’s about you. Stay at it with or without success in this particular startup. That’s the only way to learn.
4. San Bhaskaran,
One common mistake everyone makes is to think that a Startup is a mini company.
Start up is an experiment. (It is not a mini version of big company). Experiments fail. Learn from it and improve your next experiment. Prey that if it has to fail, it fails fast and not after you have ran out of money.
Gather people who give you honest feedback and not always agree with you. Gather people who trust in your vision but are bold enough to point out what could go wrong. Assemble a team that can execute fast and to the highest standards.
Be prepared to fail. Ask what could be the worst that can happen, if you can deal with it, go ahead, otherwise stop and do something else.
5. Brett Fox, CEO, Hi-Tech Entrepreneur, Author, Mentor, and Business Builder.
The first year is all about execution and recruiting. You are building the team, upgrading the team, executing the plan, and working with your investors all at the same time.
Team building. Focus on quality over quantity. Make sure each and every employee is smart, passionate, has integrity, and fits the company culture. Oh, and make sure you, the CEO, interview each new hire.
Upgrading the team. Another post mentioned getting rid of the non-believers. How right he is! Not all your hires will work out. The ones that don’t fit, for whatever the reason, should be asked to leave sooner rather than later. You will not miss them.
Alin Merches, co-founder Mobiversal.com
Be very focused on customers needs and adapt, adapt, adapt your app based on their feedback. But pay attention to make a difference between the naysayers among your customers and the ones that really have a constructive opinion over your product. Don’t just change your product based on the first opinion. Know what you want and where you want to be very well, this way you can filter the feedback.
Originally shared on Quora