Building a business is tougher that anyone can imagine.
As a first-time CEO of a startup company, you’ll encounter a lot of challenges. Your initial plans may not go the way you want them to; your best employees might quit on you, you might achieve less than 50% of your anticipated sales or even incur more expenses than you had budgeted for.
You, too, can also disappoint yourself: Your decisions may turn out to be your worst mistakes, which may drive your business into failure. This doesn’t mean that your job is not doable or your story will not end well. It will, if you get the right advice and put them into practice.
Here are the most important elements every first-time CEO should remember:
Most new businesses fail
New research by Harvard Business School’s Shikhar Ghosh found out that 75 percent of all startups fail. Your new company will likely fail, and, as a new CEO, it’s important that you should know that.
This fact is not stated here to discourage you but to ensure you brace up for the impact. Most successful companies fail several times before they finally achieve success. One of the world’s favorite entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs, achieved success after a series of failures. At one time, he was even kicked out of his company but after years of struggling, commitment, patience, everything, as they say, became history.
So, understand that failure is imminent. And don’t quit the entrepreneurship career when it comes. Instead, dust off yourself, learn from your mistakes, and get going. This is what great leaders do.
You need grit to keep going
According to a new research by Angela Duckworth, published in the Perspective of Psychological Science, grit is the first most important trait that predicts achievement followed by self-control. Grit, the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward long-term goals, is the fuel that keeps the entrepreneur going no matter what. As a CEO, you don’t need a high IQ, or to be in the right industry, or get X amount of capital to take your startup to a new level. All you need is the courage and motivation to keep pushing.
You must be passionate
To build a great business, and get the motivation you need to keep going, you need to do what you love. In other words, you need a strong passion. Most CEOs are passionate about their businesses. They are not where they are because of the money, but because they’re fond of their craft. If you are doing it only for the sake of money, you will burn out when challenges loom and quit much earlier that you ever imagined.
However, with passion for your business, your grit develops. You’ll get the energy to work for extra hours and employ others to do the same. Thus increasing your chances of success.
Each new product is an experiment
Consider your new products as experiments. Not all your products will go viral, get sold, and generate millions for you. In fact, most of your products will get you no sale because let’s face it – you’ll never know what will happen until you get it out there in the market.
No matter what your customers say, if they don’t do it in practice, then you can’t prove their stories. So, launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first, then pivot and repeat based on the feedback you receive from your customers
Your startup needs time to take off
As a startup, you will not start generating huge revenue during your first few weeks or months. For example, experimentation takes time. Validating new ideas, concepts, and innovation can’t be achieved in a week or two. The best study on the subject, which examined nearly 70 corporate ventures in the 1960s and 1970s, found that new businesses took an average of seven years to become profitable. So, be patient.
Scaling a new startup into a profitable company is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Prepare for it!
Related Post: The Power of Perseverance.
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234Finance is an online hub that promotes African Entrepreneurship. We feature small and medium sized businesses on the platform, shedding light on the current and future developments in diverse sectors across Africa. We also provide free resources, share opportunities and events on our platform that entrepreneurs can benefit from and thrive in Africa’s tough business landscape.