Photo: Peter Heilmann via Flickr
The term start-up became popular during the “dot-com” bubble, when a great number of companies
that were small and dealt with technology and internet surged.Nowadays it has nothing to do with
the company’s size, sector, economy or market. Start-ups are human companies that show off to
deliver a product or service under an extremely uncertain market.
So, with that uncertainty, what do you have to do to be successful with your start-up?
Gustavo Caetano is CEO of Samba Tech. This article has been published with permission.
Build a market and specialize yourself and your start-up in something that nobody else does. It's wrong to innovate just because you've heard that you must do it.
Try to find a purpose: improving people's life, fixing something that is wrong or preventing that something good runs out. If you built a specific segment, than you are the leader. Take advantage of it.
Look for new opportunities that makes your business grow. If your market is small and you don't have the capacity to expand your product or service, you will be swallowed. Bet on a business model called Fremium: create scale with your free products and earn money with your premiums.
Do not copy IBM's internal process before having IBM's size. If you keep a small spirit inside your company's culture you can move forward faster.
Instead of setting bureaucratic processes, create small start-ups and delegate functions and responsibilities to your employees.
Treat your employees as a member of your family, they are your differential. If you handle them well you will create strong relationships, and it's always better when you work among friends.
At the beginning there is much work and little reward. Try to sell a dream that your staff will bet on. Most people don't work just for money.
Create your own ecosystem of suppliers and use third parties for the services that are not your core business. You must know that if you shield yourself you will be surrounded.
Having strong partners mean that you are strong too. Transform your partners into your loyal friends and let them make money for you.
Well, if you want to deliver or sell something, you know that the more volume you have, less it will cost to you. So, from a bike to a train the cost per unit is lower.
But what about the internet? Yes. The cost is zero. Put your product or service on the internet and deliver your core business for free.
Look for someone who has money and experience to bet on you -- and accept the risk of your market. Angels and Venture Capitalists do want to put their money into your company, you just have to convince them.
Find the right partner for your start-up and don't think they will steal it from you. A start-up is a car on a downhill. It will speed up in time, but imagine if it's accelerating.
Describe what you do by showing your targets how they can take advantage of it and improve with it. They only care about what will be better for them.
Make the customers fall in love with your start-up. They will be your best press release agency.
This is something we've learned with the US Army. Don't supply exclusively to a single client, supply everyone.
They will fight among themselves and no matter who the winner is, you will profit.
Your company is new and inexperienced and you've got clients that bet on you! This is great. But if you don't want to be on the down side, treat them very well, have a close and friendly relationship. Make sure you are not only a supplier, but a partner.
These are great ways to surprise them that often, big companies can't do.
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