Published 20 March 2018 Category: Entrepreneurs, SMEs, Startups, Business

What Is A Successful Startup

There is so much talk about Startup success. What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Successful Start Up”? Is it the business unicorns like Twitter or Uber? AirBnB? Or is it a small company working hard through the night, with steady growth?

Like so many things in the startup world, the definition of what a successful startup truly is and can be vague. All business owners take a different approach to determining what’s considered an accomplishment within their organisation.

But if there is anything we have learned from the rise and fall of many supposedly successful Startups, it is that predicting a successful startup may not be as easy as it may seem when you are looking in from the outside.

Far too many times, have we seen companies with attractive ‘numbers’ and big investors backing them up fall and get shut down. But even when that happens, does it really mean they have failed if they are shut down? Understanding success really then does depend on one’s perspective and the length of time one chooses to focus on.

Naturally though, numbers may help to predict whether a startup is on target with respect to its specific goals at the moment. Depending on the industry and circumstances, these numbers may include gross margin, customer acquisition cost, churn rate, annual contract value, profit, free-to-paid conversion rate, net promoter score, and numerous others.

But still that is a one sided view of the definition of Startup success and other founders would agree with that. What then is a successful Startup? Consider the following point of views and Startup definitions:

A successful Start Up is one that has impact
For most founders, profit and revenue are merely a result of their Start Ups real purpose and that is: To make a positive impact in the world. For the more practical minded, a successful Start Up might be measured by how much of an impact it’s had.

Possibly the coolest rich guy on the planet, Elon Musk definitely saw it that way when he said: “When I was in college, I wanted to be involved in things that would change the world. Now I am.” He measured his success not in terms of financial success but in terms of how he can change and impact the world.

We tend to automatically default to money when we’re talking about success, but for some founders the ability to make a difference - to truly make a positive impact on the world - is the definition of a successful Startup.

A successful Startup is one where people are happy with your product
If you have unsatisfied customers then that means you will eventually run out of business. Keeping customers happy is always important, but for struggling Startups it can be the determining factor for whether or not they end up in the failed Startup scrap heap or not.

Ensuring that you build your product with your customers in mind is what will make them happy. To most Startups receiving positive feedback about the product that they built to solve their problems means success.

Founders that start out by trying to solve a specific problem will determine whether they are successful or not by the number of people who use their product and are happy with the way it is working. Success for them means making others happy.

A Successful Startup is one that gives you time with you loved ones
For some founders, the ability to spend time with family is the definition of a successful Startup. The hustle and grind is real, whether you’re working a corporate 9 to 5 or you’re trying to get a new business off the ground that we sometimes feel like we have no time for our loved ones.

Founders who have their loved ones at the core of their entire being know that having a business that gives them enough time to work on and build their relationships is success.

A successful Startup is one that gives you freedom
Being able to have freedom is what a lot of founders want to achieve and once they get that freedom that would mean that they have found the success that they wanted.

To the founders that really place high value on the time they spend on this planet, having a business that will allow them to do anything they want is considered as a success to them.

A successful Startup is one that makes you your own boss Receiving orders from someone else is just not in some people’s DNA.The ability to control your own destiny - to be not only your own boss but the boss - can be exhilarating. Others have come to the conclusion that th e fact that they can move from a mere employee to an entrepreneur running their own business is a huge success in its own right.

We all tend to categorise success in one single form. Numbers. This can be revenue growth, gross profit margin or customer acquisition etc.

But did you notice a pattern in the examples given above? To founders ,Startup Success is not usually measured by those outside factors. Instead, true success is determined by each individual. Every founder started their company with a specific aim, and if that aim was billions of dollars in revenue, then that is their startup success.