Why do some start-ups flourish, while others fizzle out? Of course it helps if you have a brilliant idea to start with, but sometimes even that isn’t enough to make a business fly. So what’s the key to driving a brilliant idea forward? If you had two identical businesses, why might one thrive and the other one fail?
Where are you going?
In life, you don’t generally start a journey without knowing where you want to end up, and so it is in business. You need to have a clear destination from day one. That way, when challenges arise or a situation changes, all you need to do is find another route - you don’t need to abandon the journey altogether. A clear goal will keep you – and everyone working with you – travelling in the right direction, and when you need to make decisions, you will have a much clearer idea of the best way to go.
How will you get there?
Your vision can be big, but it must also be realistic. To set yourself an unachievable goal would be to set yourself up for failure. So be realistic about what you want to achieve, and then work out the best path for getting there. Make sure everyone around you knows and shares your vision, and hire or work with the best people you can find along the way. Trust these people to do their jobs – you hire a bricklayer because you know they’ll lay bricks better than you can – don’t try to do everything yourself. As long as you have a clear, realistic vision and a great team around you, you will get there in the end.
How long should it take?
Businesses don’t boom overnight, so you will need to be patient. Look at the businesses around you, stay abreast of developments in your industry and work out how these might affect your customers’ needs. Always keep an open mind, and an eagle eye for opportunities. These might come from surprising places, in which case you might have to alter your route (see above!) to capitalise on them.
Why would it fail?
There are an infinite number of reasons why a good business could fail, but unclear direction, inflexibility, internal power struggles and impatience shouldn’t be among them. Having a clear vision from the outset should help you avoid these pitfalls; and keeping your sights set your destination will certainly help you get there.