O! Startup, My Startup…why did you fail?
by Premangsu Bhattacharya
Starting on a new venture, apart from other things, is a very risky expedition and more often than not, people tend to ignore the word ‘risk’ and take ‘expedition’ at its face value. Result: Chaos. You may have a remarkable idea at the back of your head, an idea which may have the potential to break barriers…but is it a sufficient condition to survive in a business?
Startups are usually associated with enthusiasm, glee and a lot of positive energy in the initial days. Soon after, Mr. Market steps in and that is when most businesses collapse. While reasons for breakdown of the entire machinery are subjective, some of the common problems which haunt these companies can be discussed –
Business Model – This is the crux of any business. Your remarkable idea won’t fuel your business, a robust business model will. If you don’t have it in place, hold your horses. A spineless business will only harm you in the long run.
Scaling – This is where most excellent companies fail after an initial homerun. There is either an acute shortage of capital or there is an absolute lack of a concept driven strategy.
Lack of innovation – In a world where the chances of survival are minimal, innovation becomes the de facto norm. This is something that you must religiously follow. It can be anything – from inventory management to payment of wages. Innovation doesn’t have to be path breaking ideas. Sometimes, simple cost effective techniques do the trick. If your area of operation is services, this is the bare minimum standard which you must always comply with.
The last thing that a company may want to do is coattail its competitors. Unless you are in a market where the market mechanism will always be in your favour, you should avoid this at all cost. Instead, focus on your core competence, improve your quality of services, try and add value to your business…in this way, you prepare yourself well for the future.
Understand the business – It may seem like the most obvious thing to do…but this is the thing that entrepreneurs seem to forget. It is upon you to decide what your business represents, what it wishes to achieve…how to achieve whatever it wishes to achieve…in what timeframe and whether the goals are realizable or not. The more you understand your business, its potentials and its drawbacks, the easier it will be for you to take your decisions.
Visionary leaders – Managers are at the helm of corporate affairs and if they exhibit skills in the form of excellent leadership, risk taking ability, capacity to beat the doldrums and learn from mistakes, the business will have a greater chance of survival.
Running a business is not an easy task. It is not something that a tutorial or a business course can teach you. It is something that one learns along the way. It requires a lot of patience, a truckload of appetite and a rational mind. Every business is unique and there are no thumb rules. Being successful is all about common sense, ability to survive and a relative amount of luck.
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.” – Ayn Rand