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Five Key Pieces For Startup Success

July 5, 2010

Startup Tip #7 – Five Key Pieces For Startup Success

Killer idea

A killer idea is a game-changing concept that can capture huge market share. Killer concepts have major advantages over existing markets, products or services. These advantages can be achieved without huge amounts of capital and can be implemented quickly. An advantage is of little value unless it can be successfully commercialized.

Solid team

A great concept also requires a great team. Startups should not have large teams, but collectively, the team should have prior successful entrepreneurial experience with other startups – which means previously starting and selling companies. Another critical key to a successful startup is a team that works well together. Many startups with huge potential have stumbled or failed because the founding team was unable to work well together. A strong team will also have some diversity of experience from different professions or industries.

Ability to Adapt and Overcome Obstacles

Every startup faces obstacles. The most significant skill in the first few years of a startup is the ability to overcome obstacles. Every startup will face obstacles – many will be unforeseen. The ability to adapt plans and strategies to troubleshoot and overcome roadblocks is one of the single most important functions that a startup must perfect. A killer idea may die if a startup team cannot overcome obstacles.


Capital is required for a startup to succeed. The most successful startups have internal sources of capital or strong commitments for capital from outside sources. A good rule of thumb for startups is to have enough capital at the outset to operate for 12-18 months, regardless of revenue or profit. The best startups have low capital requirements, but also huge potential to generate great profit. These companies are usually able to attract angel and venture capital.

Luck and Timing

If you talk to founders of successful startups, they invariably attribute their success to luck and timing. While not imperative for success, the ability to be in the right place at the right time with the right product or service, is an intangible element that often makes the difference between success and failure. Many successful founders have prescient abilities to “see around corners” or “skate to the puck.” The ability to enter a commercial market before competitors can arise or react is very important when it comes to launching a startup.


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