Career Power

 “If you hang around five successful people, you’ll be the 6th”

Photo: TFC Online
Written by Wonuola Okoye

We all know the odds are against StartUp Success – Statistics show that 1 in 5 startups will fail within their first 2 years. But how do we set ourselves apart? How do we become the over achieving outlier that beats the odds?

With the fast paced and ever changing world, it’s hard to keep afloat and up to date with new technology and resources. Not to mention external factors that are difficult to control or predict.

However, we can share some of the reasons why new businesses fail and how you can beat the odds…

1 – Not Knowing your costs – Keep your costs tight, run a lean, tight ship while testing your business idea. This will keep losses at a minimum in the event that all else fails. When I started Apàárt – A leather goods company, We kept our costs as close to ZERO as possible. This gave us the motivation we needed to sell and plough back into the business. We were able to try different styles at low costs till we were able to perfect our design.

2 – Not using your network as a marketing tool – Instead of paying for ads, flyers, and marketing material,  we turned to our friends and family to make sales. After all, if you can get buy-in from those closest to you (Usually your worst critics, Just ask Jesus) you can sell to anyone. We leveraged on our network to raise awareness, built our first customer base and used Squarespace to build our website!

– Not Sussing out your competition-  Figure out what your competitors are doing well and do it better. Figure out what they are doing badly and do it excellently. Figure out what they’re not doing but should be and do it like nobody else can. KYC (Know Your Competition).

4 – Not Hiring a versatile staff- It’s important to look out for SMART people who can learn anything in a moments notice. People who have a broad spectrum of skills that will be useful to any employer.

5 – Not Surrounding yourself with good influences- If you hang around 5 successful people, you’ll be the 6th. It’s as simple as that! So challenge yourself – Go out, meet people, network, go to places you won’t ordinarily find yourself. Have conversations with diverse people with different backgrounds from you. Be open and willing to learn from their successes and their failures.

6 – Not being Committed- Your Startup is serious business, you need to live, breathe and LOVE it so that it loves you back! An entrepreneur knows that in order to be successful you have to be committed and ready to put in the work, which could mean making some necessary sacrifices. Your friends might hate you for some time, but they’ll wear t-shirts with your name on them with pride when you make it!!

This is very high level, of course, there are several other factors that come into play when building a business.

*** Wonuola Okoye is the Principal Coach @ Big Startup.

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Wonuola Okoye

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