Posted by David Scult

launchI have great admiration for those true entrepreneurs who start their own business in this economy. Getting a new company off the ground is always difficult, and that fact is especially true today. According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau the Bureau of Labor Statistics about start-up success rates, less than half will be around five years after being founded.

If you've just started a new business, don't be discouraged! Although the odds are stacked against you, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure continued success. A recent ZDNet article compared entrepreneurs with hustlers, and I found that to be a surprisingly apt analogy. No one said entrepreneurship is for the faint-hearted, but with some smart tactics and hard work, your startup can go on to become an established success.

The ZDNet article listed a few key pieces of advice for startups to follow, and, based on that information, here are my top five tips to follow. There's no guarantee that any business will be around five years from now, but these tidbits will dramatically improve your chances of achieving growth.

  1. Be realistic: If you think your small business is going to be the next Facebook, then you may be in for a rude awakening. Startups that make a big splash are always the exception and never the rule. For every major success story there are dozens of failures. Instead, plot a long-term growth trajectory that focuses more on achieving a healthy business over time so you can see real profits down the road.
  2. Thoroughly understand the market: Just because you think others want or need your product or service doesn't make it true. To ensure your business is poised for current and future growth, conduct thorough research about where your targeted industry is now and what the future might hold. For example, while including mobility features in business telephone systems 10 years ago would have seemed silly, it's now a necessity.
  3. Price is always important: This point is pertinent both in regard to costs incurred and to potential revenue streams. One commonality among most millionaires today is that they were penny pinchers in an earlier life. While startups do need to spend some money to make money, immediately upgrading to the very best is not smart when more budget-friendly solutions will get the job done at the beginning. Similarly, you should be sure to adequately price the item or service your startup offers so that it is affordable but still profitable.
  4. Get IT right the first time: These days, technology is more crucial than ever to future business success. Whether it's a laptop, printer or office phone system, make sure you get this right. Failure to do so will only lead to lost sales and countless headaches later on.
  5. Don't underestimate team cohesion: Although your startup team is small, communication and collaboration is still vitally important. It's typically much easier for team members at a smaller business to work together than at a large enterprise, but that doesn't mean startups shouldn't do everything in their power to facilitate effective collaboration. A great way to do this is by investing in Fonality solutions, as we provide businesses of all size with the tools they need to collaborate and communicate efficiently.

What are some other commonalities exhibited by successful startups? Leave your comments below to let me know.