Entrepreneurs never start out thinking their business will fail. Armed with a fresh approach to an existing idea or thinking you can do it better than the competition is the fuel that gives birth to a new business. But the odds are not favorable for a startup since most will fail in less than five years. Given those percentages, it takes more than passion and a great product or solution to be successful.
Before I decided to launch my own startup, I’ve had experience building new products and solutions for some of the largest global banks. The lessons I learned about building new products could never prepare me for the “real world”. Life in the real world is very different, but there are some specific skills I learned through hardcore experience. Below is a short list of some of these practical points. Of course, this is by no means an extensive list but will provide a good foundation to which to build from.
Remember to Check your Ego at the Door
CEOs have to remember that although the ego is not bad, it has to be checked at the door if you want to succeed. The ego, in many cases, could have been the driving force to ignite the entrepreneur to start the business in the first place. However, as the company starts to evolve, if not kept in check, the ego can grow and starts to become consuming. You can tell when it grows out of proportion because the CEO can no longer take criticism or constructive suggestions. The CEO fails to realize the team brings their own perspective to the job or project and could add value when their input is considered or evaluated. When the CEO has both the questions and answers to everything, this is the beginning of a problem which can lead to failure.
Where are the Finances Headed?
I have dealt with clients who have no idea of their revenues and expenses. This is the lifeblood of the business. For example, some businesses are managed like a hobby even though it has evolved as a strong business, but the CEO has to accept the growth. Therefore, I recommend an accounting, tracking software not only to keep up with expenses and revenues but also provide monthly forecasts and budgets. I asked one of my clients recently about their media budget for 2015 and I did not get an answer. This could be due to a number of reasons, however, one reason remains, they did not know because there is no budget. Keep up with the finances and allow the results to make sound business decisions.
Written by Wayne Brown (Founder & CEO of The Walker Group Media – a marketing and business development company serving the financial services and FinTech companies. Our varied market segments help us to identify synergies and opportunities to stimulate growth as we partner with our clients to build their business. Through our one-on-one CEO Advisory Services, we have helped companies to navigate through key business problems, increase sales, build new revenue streams and gain new customers.)