We hear more and more stories each day of people leaving their plush jobs to begin their own startup. We also hear of statistics that most businesses won’t make it beyond their first five years as they will fail to break even. What makes the successful ones stand out? Is passion the only criteria?


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Well, passion is a starting point. But planning is vital. Here are some helpful tips to refine the idea for your startup or to accelerate things if they are slow so far.

Think 10 years ahead:

One of the biggest mistakes that start-ups make is focus on the current market. Yes, a gap in the current market is what you are out to fill, but that does not mean you will last filling that gap. Start-ups make money as they grow. Therefore, thinking in the future is a must. Think of the kind of product which would have value even ten years from now. Not only will this catch the attention of investors, but will also ensure you survive in the market.


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Have a unique edge in your Startup idea:

Instead of focusing on slightly different features, rather give your product a unique edge. Ideally, be the last in the market. Make such a product that no one any more can wish to add to your product and make a better product. Take time to do the research. For example, Google came up with the concept of a search engine, yes, but it was the first one to come up with the relevance search. Your product should have an edge that gives the user an entirely different experience. How else will you stand out?

Stay away from competition:

This may seem counter-intuitive from the point above, but the edge is precisely so that you have a different niche market of your own, instead of being one of the myriad varieties of the same product available. A competition is ruthless and you hardly make any money. Most of the money goes in being better than the other product that having an identity of your own. Create a monopoly around your product instead.

Identify the right user:

Start-ups have limited capital, and even if that was not the case, it is just simply more effective to spend on advertising to the right user. Trying to cover all grounds but pay no special attention anywhere will not really work. For example, if you built a study-help app, target people who have a lot to study but don’t have it planned out for them (like school kids whose study plans are made by teachers and parents), and who are likely to recommend to friends. MBA students would be a good catch for this.

Attract the right team:

A start-up is nothing if not for the right people. Don’t look at expertise too much. Specialized education may come in the way of divergent thinking required in a start-up. Look at value alignment and passion for startup goals instead. The right people are key to having a successful startup.

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