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A Beginner’s Guide to Why Startups Fail and How To Make Them Successful

26 Mins read

Do you know what percentage of startups fail? Do you know why startups fail?

3 out of 4 startups fail within the first year, according to The Wall Street Journal statistics. This means that if you are planning to launch a startup, you’re already going against very high odds.

So, what about the 25% of entrepreneurial endeavours that aren’t failed startups? How do they become successful?

In this blog, we will do a comprehensive dissection and analysis of some of the common mistakes that could be the doom of your startup. Once you are intimately acquainted with the potholes on the startup highway, you’ll be more prepared to handle the speedbumps along the way.

The startups that don’t fail preserve in a competitive marketplace by leaving no stones turned when it comes to ensuring that they grow holistically. And sometimes, they grow into unicorns.

If you didn’t already know, a unicorn startup is one that has a net valuation of over $1 billion.

So, how do you become a unicorn startup?

Read on if you want to:

● Get answers to the question, “why do startups fail?”

● Figure out how to avoid making the mistakes of your predecessors

● Ensure that your startup grows holistically

● Implement strategies to avoid potential threats to your startup

● Become a successful startup

● Beat all odds and blossom into a unicorn startup (fingers crossed!)

Table of Contents

What Is a Startup?

Why Startups Fail?

How Can You Set Yourself Up for Startup Success?

How Can You Become a Unicorn Startup?


What Is a Startup?

You wake up one fine day and decide that you want to make a change. You have a revolutionary idea that could help people make their lives easier and also bring in revenue for yourself. And you want to make this idea a reality.

Now, you’re an entrepreneur with a vision.

A startup is the tool that will help you bring your vision to fruition. It’s a company or project that you undertake to ideate your vision, validate your ideas, and develop it into a product or service that is capable of revenue generation.

Why Startups Fail?

There are many reasons why startups fail. It could be something as simple as bad management, or a more complex problem like bad products. Either way, it is easy to ensure that your startup does not end up a failure.

All you need to do is learn from the mistakes made by the failed startups.

Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why startups fail so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.

1. Inferior Idea

Before you start your entrepreneurial journey, you need to ask yourself if your startup idea really is a million dollar one.

What might seem like a brilliant product idea to you may not be so appealing to your target audience.

Think carefully about these important questions:

  • Does your startup idea address a demand in the marketplace of your choice?
  • Will your product or service add value to the lives of your audience?
  • And most importantly, is your target audience large enough to make your product launch financially viable?

One of the major reasons for failed startups is a lack of market demand for the final product.

Think about it this way. You launch a steak house in an area where the population is predominantly vegetarian. Irrespective of how amazing your food is, you will have to close shop sooner than later because your product simply won’t be in demand.  

2. Poor Planning

Inadequate or badly done planning is the bane of fledged startups. One of the main causes of failed startups is the lack of a clear plan.

Planning helps you avoid the confusion that comes with doing things haphazardly. It helps you identify your objectives clearly and set realistic goals for your business. Planning also gives you a clarity of purpose that you can communicate easily to your team members.

When your whole team is properly aware of your mission and the vision you have for your startup, you can work together as a cohesive unit towards a single goal.

A good plan helps you draw up a clear roadmap for your business. Once you have a roadmap, it becomes easier to manage the rest of the business processes such as budget estimation and resource allocation.

While planning, you’ll be able to set guidelines and quality standards for your startup. You will also have an easier time identifying risks and mitigating them.

3. Wrong Business Model

One of the main reasons why startups fail is that they choose the wrong business model.

A business model is a startup’s main revenue-generating plan which outlines how the company plans to bring in profits. If you follow a business model that isn’t right for your organisation, you will run into financial difficulties.

Business models help you with the planning of business operations and revenue generation strategies. It also helps you utilise your resources properly to maximise your income and reduce your expenses.

A business model also plays an important role when it comes to procuring investors for your startup.

Investors are ultimately interested in the profits that they stand to make when your startup becomes successful and starts generating profits. You will be able to build investor faith in your idea if you can show them how market-ready your product is and how you can start bringing in profits.

4. Sub-Standard Team  

If your customers are the lifeblood of your startup business, your core team is the backbone. Having a team that cannot pull its own weight has resulted in numerous failed startups.

If your team members are not passionate about building your startup, then your chances of success are quite slim. Your team must comprise highly motivated individuals who have creative ideas and want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

It is not enough to have a few individuals who are motivated to bring your visions to life. Your team must be able to work together to produce outstanding results.

If your team lacks creativity, that is yet another problem you need to address if you want to build your startup up to the level of a unicorn startup.

5. Lack of Technical Co-Founder

While it is possible to avoid being a failed startup just because you don’t have a technical founder, it is always a good idea to have a founder who is technically inclined.

A technical co-founder will ensure that your business is independent of external technical stakeholders. It’s good to have someone who will have your back if you need a break from the business for personal reasons.

Technical co-founders can help you take your business from offline to online seamlessly. They will know your business inside out, which means they are your constant back-up plan when you need a sick day.

A technical co-founder will also help you navigate the technical aspects of your business without any trouble. They will be up-to-date with evolving technologies, which means your final product will have the latest technological innovations built into it.

Having a technical founder also increases investor trust in your business. You and your investors can rest assured that your technical co-founder will be able to manage your tech team effectively for maximum results with minimal inputs.

6. Insufficient Funding

Having a startup idea is not enough, even if you manage to create a good business plan and adopt a working business model.

You’ll have bills to pay and lots of them. There are employees that you’ll need to pay monthly. There are research costs that you’ll need to handle. You will also need to consider legal fees, insurance premiums, license and permit fees, and the cost of office supplies and equipment.  

It doesn’t end there. Advertising costs, marketing costs, outsourcing costs..the list is never-ending as long as your business is up and running.

You need money to make things happen.

If you do not have sufficient funds to run the day-to-day activities of your business till you actually start breaking even and generating profits, you might end up a failed startup. It is also not wise to borrow in the name of your business, as this will lead to huge debt pile ups that might force you into bankruptcy.

7. Bad Budgeting

Budgets are created for two main reasons.

The first and most obvious reason is that budgets give you an idea of your startup’s financial situation. The second and most commonly ignored reason: budgets are created so that you stick to them.

Leaving cash burns unchecked or ignoring them altogether is a sure shot way of ending up in the reject pile of startups. Once you understand the financial needs of your business, you will also have to hold yourself accountable for every penny spent in the name of your startup.

If you fail to follow the financial budget that was drawn up keeping the requirements of your business in mind, you are certain to end up neck-deep in debt.

Sometimes, you may face financial problems despite a good budget. It is important to get your budget reviewed multiple times by skilled professionals to ensure that you have not overlooked any major financial aspect.  

8. Shuffling Stakeholders

Stakeholders might change over the course of your startup’s journey. But, if stakeholders keep changing frequently, then your startup is heading down a dangerous path.

It is important to have consistency, at least when it comes to the major stakeholders of your startup. Bad partnerships will affect the overall business and might even lead to startup failure.

If there is no consistency in the key stakeholders, it will not only affect the morale of the other stakeholders, but will also adversely affect the public image of your startup.

Replacing key persons often will also slow down the growth of your startup considerably as each new addition will take time to learn the business and understand the ropes.

9. Inadequate Management

A bad management team can lead to a lot of problems. And there will definitely be one fatal causality: your startup.

Many startups with great product ideas and adequate funding ended up on the list of failed startups simply because the management team was not suitable for the position.

Your startup may be inexperienced, but that does not mean you should entrust its management to people who are inexperienced. Management is an art, and not everyone is an artist.

If your managers are incapable of handling the different teams that work for your startup, then your teams will never be able to work together in harmony.

If your managers fail to ensure that your team members are happy and comfortable, then your productivity will go down drastically.

It doesn’t matter how great a team you have, unless they are managed the right way to deliver optimal outputs.

10. Unclear Communication

Communication is the key to get your startup off the ground. If you fail to ensure good communication between all your stakeholders, you will most likely end up in the folder marked “failed startups”.

Lack of communication or unclear communication can lead to simple misunderstandings that will escalate over time. This might result in frustration for you or your employees.

If your team is unable to communicate their ideas and requirements well, then it will definitely slow down your startup’s progress up the corporate ladder.

If urgent issues are not communicated in a timely manner, they will snowball into big problems. What could have been resolved in minutes might take hours to resolve if left unchecked for too long.

Bad communication also causes bottlenecks which will impede the smooth running of your business and ultimately result in losses in money and opportunities.

11. Improper Feedback Loops

Feedback loops rely on your startup’s initial outputs to improve the next round of results. If you fail to implement feedback loops or if the feedback loops that you implemented are inadequate, then you have a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

If you do not have proper feedback loops in place, you cannot connect with your stakeholders and get their two cents on your final product. And, if you are not in touch with the needs and demands of your consumers, your startup won’t be able to survive in a competitive environment.

Feedback loops are not limited to just your end users. If you miss out on the feedback from your team members, you won’t know how to improve your product. When your teammates are aware that they have a platform to voice their thoughts and opinions, they will be able to offer great insights.

Without feedback loops, you will be hard pressed to find and rectify all the issues and threats that your startup faces.

12. Lack of Innovation

If you fail to innovate, you fail. Period.

Technology is evolving even as you read this, and it is important to stay updated with the latest technological trends that are relevant to your startup and products or services.

If you don’t innovate your product idea even as you’re building it, there is no guarantee that it will stay relevant in your target marketplace by the time you’re done honing the finished product.

There is also a chance of your competitors overtaking you if you don’t improve upon your original idea and add more features and customisations to your product. If your competitor makes a product that serves the same function as your, but better, then your product is no longer viable.

In order to avoid being obsolete, drive home the importance of innovation to your team.

13. Improper Working Environment

Now, this is not strictly a reason your startup might fail. However, it is a possibility that the adverse effects of a bad working environment will ultimately result in the untimely demise of your startup .

If your workspace is not conducive to progress, your employees won’t be happy. If your employees are unhappy, it will be reflected in their work. If the quality of output from your startup decreases, it’s a short fall into the pit of failed startups.

An unhealthy work environment (we’re taking excessive stress and impossible deadlines, not fungus-covered walls and leaking pipes) will lower the morale of your personnel. As we mentioned before, they are the backbone of your startup. So, if its spine is weak, how can your startup walk tall?

14. Shoddy Marketing

Marketing is a crucial part of growing your startup business. With the right marketing, you can show the world your startups’ capabilities and the potential you hold.

Marketing allows you to engage with your audience on a personal level and leave lasting impressions. If your product is marketed poorly, then it will likely be buried under the corpses of other failed startups.

Think about it this way. What’s the point of having a great startup business if no one knows about it?

If your target audience does not know that your product exists, then they do not know that they need it. It’s as simple as that.

15. Subpar Sales Team

Sales is the crux of your revenue-generation processes. And you need a great sales team on your side to help your startup hit the required sales targets. They are your main revenue-generators.

Many startups failed to make it to the big scene simply because they didn’t have a good sales team to move their products off the shelves.

So, despite having a great product, you won’t see much traction in the sales department unless your sales team is full of go-getters who are actively tracking down potential leads.

Your sales team is tasked with more than bringing in potential leads for your business and improving your retention rates. They are, in essence, the ambassadors of your products or services. They are the face of your brand and have a big impact on building brand reputation and long-standing customer relationships.

16. Ambiguous Core Product

Some startups failed simply because they were too enthusiastic about bringing in too many products all at once.

If you have too many verticals right from the start, it becomes hard to manage your startup. Your team becomes stretched too thin. The focus of your team is distributed between too many products and no product will get the attention it needs.

Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many dishes can cause the cooks to drop dead from exhaustion. The ensuing mayhem might as well be the death bells at the funeral of your failed startup.

17. Product Problems

If your product fails to meet consumer demands, there’s simply no coming back from that. You need to put it on the back burner and start over from scratch.

You might think your product is market-ready, but if there are product issues that make it unsuitable for the marketplace at present, you need to understand them before you organise a launch.

Your product’s demands also affect the financial decisions of your startup, so conduct extensive research before you go ahead and start your product development.

If your product has issues such as bug fixes that are easily rectifiable, it is advisable to initiate a product recall so that you can fix the issues before relaunching. Do not make your users use a faulty product, as this will make them lose trust in your brand completely.

18. Failure to Learn from Mistakes

What happens when you fail to learn from mistakes? You make the same mistake over and over again.

When it comes to your startup business, each mistake is a costly one. Repeating the same mistakes can cost you more than just time and money; it can cost you the confidence of your team and their faith in your product idea.

If you make the same mistake frequently, that means your startup is stuck in a rut and there is no real progress. If this is the case, then it is time for a fresh perspective.

Our mistakes are crucial to our overall development. But, only if you learn from them. John Cena famously said, “If you don’t learn from your mistakes, then they become regrets.”

Avoid letting your startup become one of your regrets.

19. Unrealistic Expectations

If you set unrealistic expectations for your startup or your team, you’re setting yourself up for definite failure.

Be it deadlines or stakeholder expectation, make sure that you set goals that are realistically achievable.

Unrealistic expectations result in frustration for those who are supposed to deliver the work. When deadlines or expectations are not met, it brings down morale of everyone involved.

What’s worse, once you miss a critical deadline, it’ll start a chain reaction where you’re always trying to keep up with the missed deadlines piling up.

Unrealistic expectations put excessive stress on your team. When your team is overworked, it will affect their creative productivity, and reduce the quality of the final output.  

20. The Wrong Attitude

You must have heard the saying, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

Whoever said it is not wrong.

If you have the wrong attitude towards your startup’s development, it could prove detrimental in the long run. You need to truly believe that you will succeed in order to be able to push boundaries.

Your attitude matters on a personal level too. If you are too proud to take feedback or too arrogant to ask for help, it is highly unlikely that you will succeed. Let us show you some classic examples of the wrong attitude displayed by startup founders.

“I started this business. I’ll run it the way I want.”

You need the help and support of your entire team to be able to run a startup business successfully.

“It’s my way or the highway. Deal with it.”

You might lose out on very valuable inputs from your stakeholders unless you’re willing to listen to them.

“My idea is perfect. There is no room for improvement.”

There is always room for improvement. Ask around and let others help you innovate your startup business.

Sometimes, arrogance is not the only bad attitude. If you’re meek and afraid to try new things, that could cause your startup business considerable setbacks. Let’s look at a few more examples.

“I’m playing not to lose.”

Playing to stay in the field makes you overly cautious. Doesn’t “I’m playing to win!” sound much nicer than “I’m playing not to lose.”?

“I don’t know how to say ‘no’.”

As a startup founder, you will have to say no to a million little things. You’ll also have to get accustomed to being told “no”.

“I’m taking it slow.”

Don’t. Always try to push boundaries. If you take it too slow and wait for things to “fall into place”, you might lose out on amazing opportunities that could make your startup a unicorn.

How Can You Set Yourself Up for Startup Success?

1.Vet Your Startup Idea

Make sure that there will be market demand for your finished product once it’s launched.

You can do this by conducting extensive research to vet your startup idea properly. Do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to roughly determine the feasibility of transforming your startup idea into reality.

  • What are the advantages that your final product will bring to its users?
  • What are the shortcomings in your idea that you will need to rectify before you proceed with the product development?
  • Is there a niche demand for your product in the market?
  • What are the potential risks that you might face during the product development and launch?

It’s also important to consider these questions:

  • Who are your target audiences?
  • How can they benefit from your product?
  • What is the potential of your product?
  • How big do you think your startup can get given time and resources?

Once you are absolutely sure that your idea is worth the effort, prepare yourself mentally to embark on a fulfilling startup journey.

2. Come Up With a Foolproof Plan

Your startup needs a business plan if you plan to succeed.

A business plan is essentially the documented version of a company’s core activities, the business objectives of that company, and the strategies that the company plans to implement to achieve its targets and goals.

And a business plan is the first thing you need to look into when you begin your startup journey. If you fail to create a detailed business plan, it can lead to numerous setbacks as time progresses.

Not having a proper plan can lead to a lot of confusion, which in turn could stall your work considerably.

  • What are your business objectives?
  • What are your company’s main USPs?
  • Is the market ready for your product?
  • How can you alleviate business threats?
  • How long before you are ready to launch your product?
  • What are the sales and marketing strategies you plan to implement?
  • What are your funding requirements?
  • What are the predicted financial projections for your business?
  • When can you take your business idea and turn it into a financially viable product?

All these questions and more are answered in your business plan. It’s also a good idea to keep your business plan in a format that can be presented to investors during elevator pitches.

3. Choose a Business Model That Is Apt For Your Startup

You need to make sure that the business model you choose for your startup aligns well with the goals and sales targets you have in mind. Having a good business model definitely increases the chances of your startup’s success.

There are numerous business models out there for you to choose from such as:

  • Marketplace Model
  • Reseller Model
  • Freemium Model
  • Subscription Model
  • On-Demand Model
  • Disintermediation Model
  • Leasing Model
  • Virtual Goods Model
  • Razor and Blades Model
  • Hidden Revenue Model

To know more and make an informed decision, read about the different types of business models that you can adopt for your startup.

Make sure that you consider these questions before you finalise on a business model.

  • What is your vision?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the needs of your consumers?
  • How do you think you can sell your products?
  • What are your expectations for your product’s sales?
  • How well is your competition doing?
  • What is your value proposition?
  • What are the different revenue streams you can tap into?
  • What are the strengths of your startup that you can use in your chosen marketplace?  

4. Build Up an A-Team

The right team can make your startup, while the wrong one can break it. So, choose your team carefully.

There is no rush to have your entire team ready from the get-go. It’s okay to build your team up slowly, as long as you do it the right way.

Take your time with the hiring process and make it as detailed as possible. You need to ensure that you make hires that leave no room for doubt.

Your team is only as strong as the weakest member, so make sure you help it grow holistically. Your team members must all bring different skill sets to the table, so that there is a balance between technical and creative aspects.

If your team lacks creativity, bring in someone who has brilliant ideas. If your team is technically unsound, hire a technical expert to help strengthen the team.

At the end of the day, you need a team that is in sync with your goals and vision, and has a thirst for a continuous learning process.

5. Get Yourself a Technical Co-Founder (If You Haven’t Already)

You need to evaluate your potential candidates carefully before hiring a technical co-founder. Just as with building up your core team, do not rush the hiring process.

Conduct extensive interviews to determine which candidate best fits your startup’s organisational goals.

Technical co-founders are necessary for startups. So, he/she must be an all-rounder. It is not enough to hire a professional who is technically sound. He or she must also gel well with your existing team and be a great listener and communicator.

A technical co-founder must also be someone who is on a quest for knowledge and believes in continuous learning. Try to onboard a technical co-founder who is full of new ideas and creative solutions.

6. Raise Adequate Funding

Before you start your new venture, make sure you have enough in the bank to keep everything going smoothly before you start turning profits.

Analyse your financial needs thoroughly and figure out your budget.Then, make sure that you raise enough capital to meet your business needs.

You can employ any method necessary to raise capital, as long as it’s done legally. Pitch to angel investors, set up meetings with venture capitalists, or even try your hand at crowd sourcing for funds.

You need to ensure that you have the necessary ideas and proof of concept ready at hand before you try to pitch. Investors want to see results and not just listen to ideas, so try to create a prototype of your business product as well.

Elevator pitches are a great way to convince investors to place their trust (and money, of course) in your startup, so make sure you don’t step out of your house without an elevator pitch always ready to go.

Also Read: 17 Vital Factors Venture Capitalists Look For To Invest In Your Startup

7. Budget Your Business Carefully

Take the time to understand the financial requirements and liabilities of your startup business. This will help you come up with a budget that leaves buffer room for contingencies.

Before creating a spending plan, analyse every expense you stand to incur, no matter how small. When we say leave no stone unturned, we mean check every stone thrice.

For example, it is not enough to consider the employees on your payroll alone when you’re going through the human resource part of your budget. You will also need to take into account the freelancers and outsourcing companies you plan to employ along the way.

Following budgets will keep you out of debts and reduce the chances of your startup having to declare bankruptcy. If you track your expenses carefully, you will be able to keep an eye on cash burns and save money in the long run.

Good budgeting can also help you make informed financial decisions, stay focused on your financial goals, and be prepared for any and all contingency situations.

8. Try to Keep Major Stakeholders Consistent

Your startup needs to have consistency in terms of stakeholders for it to grow to its full potential.

Before adding a new major stakeholder to the company, you need to ensure that they are ready for the commitment.

  • How long does your new stakeholder plan to stay with the company?
  • What is their five-year plan for your startup?
  • Why are they interested in joining your team?
  • What value can they add to your business?

Subject your major stakeholders to binding legal documents that are fair to all parties involved. This will eliminate the candidates who are not serious and make sure that you are left with only the people that have the drive to carry on in the face of adversity.

Your stakeholders must believe in your organisational goals. Even though they all have vested interests, it is your responsibility to keep them on the same page.

Ideally, even though monetary benefits are important, your major stakeholders should be focused on the bigger picture.

9. Ensure an Excellent Management Team

Your management team must be able to manage not only your other teams, but also any issues that arise on a day-to-day basis.

First of all, ensure that there is a proper hierarchy in place, and everyone is aware of who reports to whom. Clarity about the management hierarchy itself will resolve half your problems in the office space.

Your managers need to ensure that the teams work together as a single unit towards the same goal. This is easier to implement when roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and communicated to all stakeholders.

Also ensure that your management knows to escalate issues on time so that they are mitigated in a timely fashion without incurring built-up technical or financial debts.

10. Facilitate Good Communication

Make sure that good communication is encouraged among all your stakeholders.

Train your personnel to pass on information correctly, concisely, and at the right time. This will speed up the progress of your projects considerably and help your employees avoid making mistakes. And as always, less mistakes mean less money spent on fixing them.

Good communication helps you make better decisions as you will have all the required facts handy. It will ensure that all your business systems are working smoothly and efficiently.  

You must also try to ensure inter-team communication. Make sure everyone knows each other’s jobs and responsibilities as well as the go-to people for specific tasks.

Inter-team communication also bolsters creativity and improves the overall morale of your employees. You can do this by arranging regular team outings and no-holds-barred brainstorming sessions.  

11. Implement Ample Feedback Loops

Feedback loops should be a part and parcel of your business’s progress evaluation.

You can implement feedback loops to get an idea about consumer expectations and model your final product to reflect these expectations. After all, you are building a product or service to cater to your consumer’s needs. And, who better to tell you what consumers want than consumers themselves?

Your end users will also have ideas and innovative suggestions that you might have initially overlooked. This valuable feedback will help you improve the overall output of your startup.

Feedback loops are also useful to address the grievances that your stakeholders have.

If your consumers have a problem with the product, they can let you know the issue through questionnaires, which is a way of getting feedback. If your employees are unhappy about something, they can also get back to you for a resolution.

Note that a feedback loop is not complete until you assimilate the feedback and charter a course of action that addresses the suggestions. You can execute feedback loops through daily standup meetings, progress reviews, questionnaires, and surveys, among others.

12. Make Innovation a Priority

You already understood why innovation is important. Now, how can you harness the power of innovation to penetrate the market?

Innovation is all about coming up with creative solutions for problems, simple and complex. It’s about taking a proactive approach to business and keeping up with the latest trends in your industry.

You can innovate your business processes to save money and resources, and streamline your workflows for optimal outputs.

Innovation need not be limited just to your offerings. Anything, no matter how simple it may seem, can be innovated to increase the efficiency and final output.

13. Create a Good Working Environment for Your Team

Manage your team effectively to make sure that they are properly motivated to work towards your goals. In order to keep their passion for work at a steady high instead of fizzling out, ensure a good working environment.

For enhanced performances, your office culture must be conducive to creativity. Motivated and satisfied employees deliver better results, as people who enjoy their work are more likely to learn faster and come up with innovative strategies.

They also tend to make better business decisions and few mistakes that can cost your startup money.

At the end of the day, your employees should love coming to work and making a difference in the world instead of treating their jobs like chores in exchange for a paycheck.

14. Invest in Sustainable Marketing Strategies

If customer engagement is the heart of a startup business, then marketing is the blood that runs through its veins.

Marketing is an on-going process, not a one-time fix that you can get over with. It helps you connect with your audience and engage them with your brand.

You need to market your product even before it’s ready for the final launch. Yes, you read that right. Your product needs to be seen and heard and talked about as soon as you start the development process.

All you need is a good prototype and a great growth hacker to increase your product visibility among the right audience. Create a PR buzz, hype up your product, and ensure that your brand awareness game is strong.

The more you educate people about your product, the more comfortable they will be with it when it’s finally time to launch.

15. Get Yourself a Great Sales Squad

Have you ever heard of the expression “selling ice to an eskimo”?

Well, that’s exactly what your sales team needs to be capable of. They need to think outside the box to come up with innovative sales strategies. Keep your sales team motivated to perform better each time through the right incentives.

Your sales team must also stay up-to-date with the latest sales trends and technology, so they can actively incorporate them into their jobs.

It’s not only your sales team that needs to sell well. As a startup founder, you must also develop the skillsets of a great salesperson, if you haven’t done so already.

It’s not only your product that you need to sell, it’s also your startup.

  • What does your startup stand for?
  • What is your value addition to the marketplace?
  • How can you make the lives of your target audience easier and more fulfilling?
  • How are you giving back to your community?
  • How do you plan to become a household name?

16. Narrow Down Your Core Products/Services

The more attention you give to your products or services, the better defined they will be. If you try to handle too many products all at once, you will initiate a chain reaction of confusion.

If you want to make your startup a success (a sustainable success, that is), you need to focus on your core products and services. These would be the main products that bring in the most revenue for your business and give the highest returns on investments.

Try to improve your existing product to its maximum potential. Add new features to make your final product more appealing.

Hold brainstorming sessions to get more innovative ideas on how to increase your customer satisfaction. Keep coming up with new ideas you can implement.

17. Ascertain Your Product’s Viability

Ask yourself this very important question:

Does your product meet consumer demands?

If the answer is ‘no’, then your product is not suitable for the market at present and needs more work. Sometimes, it needs a whole makeover.

Put in the time and effort to identify market opportunities through thorough research. This will also help you determine the right target audience for your startup’s offerings

It’s also a good idea to assess the business cycle so that you’ll know the optimal time to launch your product to the market. 

You can understand how receptive the marketplace is by analysing your competition and observing Google search trends that are relevant to your product.

Another great way to assess your product viability is to let your end users place pre-orders. The response you get from consumers will give you a feel of the marketplace.

18. Learn From Your Mistakes

The first step of learning from your mistakes is the same as the first step in recovery: acceptance.

Admit that you made a mistake and own it. You must avoid blame games and take responsibility for your failures.

Once you are ready to admit that you made a mistake, you are ready to learn from your mistake. View your failure as another opportunity to learn new things and grow more holistically.

You need to carefully dissect your failure and see what went wrong and where. This analysis helps you understand the intricate working of your business better.

Now, how can you rectify your mistake and turn your failure into a success?

Find the right tools and resources to help you fix the mistake and review your progress regularly. It’s that easy.

Also, don’t forget to keep learning new things everyday.

19. Set Realistic Goals

The sky may be the limit for your dreams, but you need to be realistic when it comes to your limitations.

Setting impossible goals and deadlines only cause undue stress for yourself and your team. In order to set realistic targets, you first need to assess the abilities of your teammates.

Once you understand their capability to deliver, you can set deadlines and targets that your team can work towards comfortably.

You must also make an effort to make sure that your goals are specific and well-defined in nature so that there are no misunderstandings or confusions.

Drawing up a proper roadmap and plan of action will also help you and your team become more accountable and work better.

20. Develop a Feeling of Esprit De Corps

If manners maketh a man, his attitude maketh his success.

Your attitude towards your startup should also be reflected in your attitude towards your employees. Make sure that every member of your team feels valued.

This will in turn promote a feeling of team spirit and foster better cooperation between team members.

When your personnel experience job satisfaction, you can expect more productivity and better results from their end.

How Can You Become a Unicorn Startup?

We don’t have any secret shortcuts that will catapult you into the status of a unicorn startup.

It takes sweat, grit, and a lot of determined and dedicated hard work to push your startup to the top.

Big industry moguls like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett also stress on another key factor for success: focus.

While it’s true that startup founders wear multiple hats, their focused passion for success helps them handle their business well. So, focus all your energy on driving the growth of your startup.

If you’re ready to follow the pointers we have covered in this blog, we have a piece of advice. And we can tell you it’s good advice, because we have done our research well.

Don’t give up. You got this!


Ideas don’t come with tags that declare them successes or failures. Building a successful startup is all about how to mould your ideas into a product worthy of commercialisation.

You can guide your startup business to success if you keep the aforementioned pointers in mind and plan your startup’s growth trajectory from day zero.