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8 top tips for successful start-ups

By pa360, Aug 16 2015 11:56AM

In the market-place of opportunity, you need to stand out to compete and you need to compete effectively to succeed. For start-ups, the key to sustainable success is the ability to turn all things to do with ‘size’ to your advantage. By doing so you effectively re-define the market-place in a way that makes ‘scale’ work in your favour irrespective of what larger competitors are doing. So how do you do that? Well here are eight top tips for successful start-ups.


1. just because you can’t compare doesn’t mean you can’t compete – successful competition is not necessarily about doing the same things better than others, it is about disrupting the market-place with a unique and distinctive offering. Study your market, don’t just look at what others are doing, look at what they are not doing. These gaps could provide the next big growth opportunity.


2. better to get your strategy right than to get it written – a clear and coherent strategy is the price of admission for success. If you do not know where you are trying to get to, you will not know how to get there or know when you arrive. A strategy that is written to please your bank manager is neither use nor ornament. Invest the time needed to get it right and then use the strategy as a road map to get from where you are to where you need to be.


3. being small and agile has distinct advantages – one of the greatest advantages of small enterprises is their ability to respond quickly to changing demands and the emergence of new opportunities. Use this distinctive trait to best effect by networking with like-minded others to build economies of scale when you need to grow and to spread risk when you need to diversify. The ability to assemble and disassemble as necessary will enhance your operational effectiveness and your strategic capabilities.


4. customers don’t want to know who did it first, they want to know who does it best – if you are going to build on the successes of others don’t imitate - innovate. In 1984 the first commercially available handheld mobile phone was unveiled by Motorola. Today, Motorola controls less than 6 per cent of the global smart-phone market, well below that of its two main competitors. Modern consumers are not interested in history or tradition; they are interested in personalisation, convenience and choice.


5. value is better than volume – establish a reputation for designing products and delivering services that people value. The time taken to ensure that you do not just get the right product, but that you get your product right is an investment in success. Products built on value breed confidence and confidence builds trust. When customers trust you they will follow you and they will bring others. Remember, it is better to do a few things well than to do many things badly


6. slow growth is better than no growth – incremental growth and consolidation is much better than rapid and unsustainable expansion. By all means have high ambitions, but these must be underpinned by realistic targets. As part of your growth journey you need to know what success looks like in the short, medium and longer term.


7. in the market place for ideas, speed of thought levels the playing field – good ideas are not the preserve of blue chip multi-nationals or those with the biggest market share. A good idea can come from anywhere, anyone and at anytime. Keep your mind fertile, be open to new opportunities and constantly assess & reassess consumer and market behaviour.


8. be fluent in the language of data – the data mine as the new ‘Klondike’ of product innovation and business growth. With a better understanding of data you can close the gap in performance between yourself and your competitors, better manage risk and expand into new markets. The importance of understanding data is crucial to sustainable success.


In summary, the most valuable asset available to a start-up is the ability to dominate economies where size gives you an advantage or where size makes no difference. Tactically, this will enable your start-up to compete and win on its own terms.


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