Almost every startup is permeated with a certain level of ambivalence and uncertainty. When you are just starting out your project, the feeling of sheer and raw potential is immense, especially if you truly believe in your business idea and you have a sound strategy for this idea to turn into reality. However, every startup is at the same time a rather risky venture that can fail to meet your expectations due to a plethora of reasons, and the initial struggle is (typically) quite real and inevitable.
For example, did you know that only 1 out of 4 new businesses manage to survive for more than fifteen years after their launch? This shows that successfully implementing your ideas into your target market is not an easy task. Managing to develop a sustainable business model requires a lot of heavy lifting and a multifaceted approach.
It is highly likely that one of your major objectives is to make the stakeholders happy, as this is the only way to keep them in business for as long as they are needed. It is only natural that lenders and investors need to see tangible yields, while your clients and customers need solid reasons to perceive your brand as trustworthy. When you insert employee satisfaction and appreciation in the mix, as well as regulatory compliance – you realize that there are a lot of moving parts that require a detailed and data-driven approach combined with at least a shred of experience.
That said, let’s go over some of the ways you can ensure the long-term viability of your startup.
Make Business Data Security Top Priority
Communication channels and business-related data require high levels of security. The startups that focus on data security often achieve a competitive edge, especially if you know that 7 out of 10 clients abandon a business that has undergone some type of security breach. This trend should be enough to convince the stakeholders to invest in information security.
Startups need to realize that following security trends is a must, in terms of both granular data and on an infrastructure level. Be sure to perform thorough research about emergent security threats within your industry and do whatever it takes to stay ahead of them. Some of the basic actionable tips to achieve this include:
- Install firewalls
- Raise employee awareness about security threats
- Train your employees about data security best practices
- Focus on cyber-security risk management
- If possible, have a team of avid IT security professionals
Keep Investors Happy Without Jeopardizing Your Product/Service
As we already mentioned, you investors need to stay in the game, for only then will your business manage to rise and grow. In order to make them do just that, you need to have an effective strategy that will yield optimized ROI. This way, you will prove to the stakeholders that your product has palpable traction and that your business is worth investing in.
Aside from data security, building a team of skilled staff is another critical basis for a successful project. Once you have a killer product and an adequate team behind you, it is probably time to focus on the marketing part of your venture. In order to come up with and implement a solid marketing strategy, you first need to understand who your target audience is and fine-tune your product and/or service according to their preferences. Learn what the pain points of your direct competitors are and tweak your product in such a way so it solves them in an elegant manner.
Admittedly, this fine line between what your investors seek, what your product should be from your own standpoint, and what your ideal customers expect is never easy to walk.
Take Care of Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory requirements are created in order to help businesses standardize how they tackle and handle data, privacy, processes, operations, etc. Not only does failure to comply with all the necessary regulations deter customers, but it can also lead to your entire business going under.
Transparency, data privacy and information security are critical for modern businesses, so make sure all your data is properly classified, managed and protected. The fines for not complying with all the necessary regulations are huge, while the reputation damage for your brand can be devastating. This is why we highly recommend using effective strategies and platforms for handling these issues, from infrastructure security layers and communication channel protection to email archiving solutions and employee training.
Huge amounts of sensitive data flow through email, Skype, Zoom, and other communication channels that can easily be breached, so be sure to take regulatory compliance and interdepartmental communication seriously.
Treat Your Employees as Your Biggest Asset
Competent staff is the very heart of every successful business. A startup’s workforce has a critical role to play in all stages of your business model and is pertinent to your business’s viability. Your team members are both the frontline and the backline of your business, which means that assembling a skilled, avid and enthusiastic workforce can literally make or break your startup, so be sure to cherish them every step of the way. As long as your employees are satisfied with their workloads, payments and the ambiance within your company, to don’t have much to worry about. The results and optimal ROI will ensue, sooner or later.
Always Stay Up to Date With Your Market and Business Insights
Every entrepreneur knows that perhaps the most important aspect of running a successful business is performing thorough research. Adequate research enables you to gain actionable and data-driven insights into your industry and its market. This allows you to come up with an effective business and marketing strategy and later course-correct if necessary. From this process emerges experience and the know-how critical for the long-term success of your business.
Granted, globalization is a double-edged sword. Unlike the businesses from say 30 years ago that needed to expand locally first, the modern business landscape allows startups to attack the global market right from the getgo. However, this also means that the direct competition is doing the same and that you need to figure out how to stand out in the (probably) already saturated market. But if you manage to figure out how to do that, your business is highly likely to expand internationally.
Building a startup that will morph into a long-term viable business is not an easy task. However, the great thing is that you have access to all the necessary tools, platforms and infrastructure, which means that almost everything is within your control. It is up to you to find the most parsimonious path to growth. Only then will your project be capable of standing the test of time.