Launching a start-up company is like a game of snakes and ladders: sometimes you get the right combination of ingredients like a great team, a kickass idea, and the funds to climb those ladders. Sometimes it seems like the world is pitted against you and the snakes have loaded the dice!
But if you've ever had anything to do with a start-up before, you know the journey doesn't follow a nice, linear progression. It's full of hurdles, roundabouts, stinging defeats, and those sweet, sweet victories. And everyone’s story varies. No-one has a perfect run, and in fact most start-ups don’t even finish the race!
Over 90% of start-ups fail. That’s a daunting number, yet innovators and investors alike keep throwing themselves into this risky gambit. Why? Well we think it’s because of the passion entrepreneurs have for their project, and how their innovation could potentially change the world.
Good startups present revolutionary ideas to an already incredibly noisy world, and they cut through all that junk with the promise of something sensational. They make good decisions and play their cards right. Not that successful startups don't make mistakes. But they learn from them and adjust.
If they’re doing well, their Key Performance Indicators are outstanding, and the Return on Investment can look like an opportunity too good to turn down. All this captures the attention of eagle-eyed investors, and if there is a likelihood that they’ll make their money back then these small ventures can become intense little projects with the potential to become huge nest eggs.
We've worked with dozens of small businesses, startup CEOs and entrepreneurs at IGNITE Alliance over the years. Each of them have been fantastically interesting with noble aspirations to change the world in their own way. However, the 2011 study by Startup Genome on Premature Scaling said that "more than 90% of startups fail". We want to change that.
We want to see passionate teams and individuals make a difference. And no, we're not going to sell you a get rich quick guide on how to get there. Instead, we want to make it fun. So we made a game which you can download here.
We also have some tips to help you win the start-up game, and give you some early warning indicators in case you're in trouble:
Test your ideas!
Ideas are a dime a dozen. Great ideas are those which hold up under scrutiny, and you can test early on to see if what you're thinking is actually viable, or it's going to need a whole heap more work and expertise to get off the ground.
An idea you reckon is a beauty which hasn't been effectively tested runs a pretty high risk of turning out to either be pretty ordinary or a pipe-dream. Both of which can sink thousands of dollars and hours just to lead nowhere.
Manage your accounts!
This means knowing how much money you have to spend, where exactly you've spent your cash, and what funds have either been invested or awarded through grants and other incentives. This may seem obvious at first glance, but if your accounts get messy and you're ever audited by the ATO, ASIC or AusTrade, having income or expenditure you can't provide evidence for could land you in some seriously hot water.
If finance isn't your forte, we definitely recommend reaching out for help to make sure everything is compliant.
Get a good team!
Though sometimes solo startups can break the mould, surrounding yourself with support from different disciplines fills knowledge gaps you may have, increases your company's productivity, and let you focus on steering your company, so you can make better decisions.
Like all business ventures, this one can the trickiest to get right; team members who are a poor fit might put extra strain on your startup, and can cripple the enterprise in the early stages. A good team can be the difference between making bank and going bust! Investing in a Human Resources consultant could be wise choice, if you can afford it.
We definitely recommend learning all you can about trends in your industry, staying on top of your accounts, and using grants which you're eligible for to break through into your market and make your business really succeed.
As an entrepreneur, you are building a product for future marketplaces; by failing to stay up to date with news from science, technology, and the global economy you are potentially developing a product which is redundant because of better products being available on the market. If you catch scent of a "next-big-thing", then you may be able to make some slight adjustments to your product while in development, rather than release something on the tail-end of what was all the rage a year ago.
There's a load more that goes into winning the startup game, but we hope that this at least gets you on the right track.
Want to see who's the best startup out of your friends?
Download our board-game and see who can win the startup game!