Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Platform for Startup Success

Dan Martell, the Canadian-turned-San Franciscan startup marketing/entrepreneurship guru put up an interesting article on his blog on "Why the best startups are created in an economic downturn". Worth reading. Dan's thoughts inspired me to chime in on Startup Success...

As someone who's been building and promoting startups for more than 25+ yrs I've developed some of my own thoughts on what startups need to have in order to succeed.

While the Bible speaks of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, from my secular perspective, startup companies need a platform of at least TEN "must have" components to ensure their success.

1) A product or service that someone will pay money for NOW
"Free" websites like Google, Facebook aren't really free.

2) A compelling vision of the value of the company
To differentiate with distinction.

3) Articulate execs who can express that vision (without arrogance)

4) References
Someone who will say the offering has real value to others

5) The combination of good timing and good luck
Zillions of startups had a great product at the wrong time

6) Dogged and smart execution

7) Ability to attract buzz, traffic, interest from those who see relevance

8) Investment - the right kind, the right amount, from the right sources

9) Open and Honest Communications: with EVERYONE
Employees, boosters, prospects, customers, partners, analysts, press, the public

10) Passion tempered with realism
To survive the travails of startup life--- management and employees must be passionate. At the same time-- passion shouldn't blind enterpreneurs from developments in the economy and the market.

I like to think of these components as "legs of a stool" that combine to build a solid platform for success.

Take away a leg and the platform tips over.

What should be added to this list?