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The fundamentals of start-up success

Sep 14, 2018

By Neil Hughes

Becoming an entrepreneur can be one of the most gratifying and fulfilling moments of a career. However, when launching your own business, there are many aspects of the journey that will prove difficult but that does not mean they cannot be overcome. Many successful ventures hinge on one causal narrative – the strength of the idea behind it. An idea that fills a need of a segment in the market is the foundation which determines the leverage of your business in overcoming other market factors like competition, laws and funding.

How do you set your business up for success?

Market research

This involves analysing the marketplace for potential customers and their needs and preferences. This allows you to identify the gaps in the market and if there is a need or want for these gaps to be filled. Do not assume all gaps are fruitful. Research is key before deciding on the area of the market you will target and the idea that will form the foundation of your start-up.

Competitive advantage

Once you have identified the core if your idea, it is vital that you establish what will give you a competitive advantage compared to competitors. This hinges mostly on your unique selling point (USP) and what your idea will offer in perceived value or quality that competitors do not. This will help in achieving higher market share and customer loyalty.

Innovation and change

It’s important to introduce an idea that is unique and satisfies a wide market. It is just as important, however, to constantly update and innovate the idea or introduce periphery or supplementary ideas to continue to satisfy the demands of an ever-changing marketplace. Change happens at such a rapid pace that it is easy to fall behind competitors. Thus, it is important to stay ahead of the curve with regards to innovation and idea generation. Keep a close eye on market trends.

Business plan

A business always needs a thorough and well-thought-out business plan to map its’ road to success. The business plan will need to be consistently updated to consider the latest micro/macroeconomic change. The business plan not only outlines an overall strategy but also gives the members of the business, from the lower levels to the upper echelon, a unilateral goal. Confusion costs time and will affect the business.

My advice

Do not rush the process of starting your own business. It is a huge commitment that will require a large amount of your time and cause excess stress. It is vital to map out your idea and the aim of the business before facing the next challenge that awaits. It might help to gain outside advice from experts on start-up businesses to assist you in the process of idea generation and the running of the venture.

Neil Hughes is the Managing Partner of Baker Tilly Hughes Blake.