Want to build a successful startup? Answer these questions.

By Teboho Polanka

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash
Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

I have seen many individuals starting out into the world of business, but not many have succeeded in their initial phase. The idea of being in business is appealing, however I came to understand that it requires some planning.

The prospect of being one’s own boss, reaping rewards of hard work and building something to multiply investments drives many young people to plunge into business. Five of hundred plans are launched, yet one out of five launches successfully and remains in business.

The truth is, start-ups are both sophisticated and complicated delicate things. Any mindless meddling with them can cost you, all of your life’s worth. But, take courage, below are some guides that when adhered to can spare you lots of trouble.


Is this a good commercial and cost-effective idea?

All business ventures try to meet an identified need, be it a product or service. Whether or not the start-up thrives depends solely on the quality and scope of the initiative. Unless a fair amount of research is done, any start-up is bound to fail.

You need to know the consumers of your products or services and cooperate with them in setting right standards on your offer. Sometimes, the tendency is to assume we know what customers want and how much they want it, but after launching a start-up harsh truth smacks us on our faces- we then realize that we’ve failed them.

Many times we see new businesses in our towns, the next thing you know the “To let” sign is right back on that local building.  Why would any sane person launch a start-up if they knew it was flawed and would fail?

Usually owners of start-ups presume they understand what customers need and for how long they’ll need it. Approaching business this way will bring nothing less than frustration for misinformed aspiring entrepreneurs. However, doing your homework of understanding your customers, competitors and market can help the survival of your start up.

To really build a solid foundation for your start-up, you need to critically think through the market, the industry and your executing team. I believe it is clear now that building a successful business will require tenacious determination and a willingness to be wrong.


Let’s take a look at how understanding your market will help in the long-term success of your start-up

Your markets: these are your targeted consumers and clearly identifying them will help you in positioning your business. Say you want to start out as a sport-wear business, you won’t expect rural farmers to be your customers. Your product should be fairly matched with its users.

Failure to matching products to customers has led many start-ups down the bottomless pit. The only way out is to take time to matching products and users.

Market analysis helps you in understanding your customers’ needs. Questions to consider answering:

  1. What problem do you want to solve?

Businesses succeed if people are persuaded to pay for what they get. It is very important to identify a public problem, that everybody wants to see solved. Then, strategically develop a plan and find ways of commercializing that plan. This is basically how businesses come into existence.

2. Why will anyone want to buy your product?

Find a motivation to cause customers to come flooding into your start-up. Consider you competitors and find ways of beating them right out of business. Give customers reasons to not only purchase solutions to identified problems, but to purchase from you.

3. Will customers’ behavior change?

Unless you clearly predict changing behavior patterns of your customers you risk losing your start-up. Your product will surely affect behavior patterns of customers. For instance, say you wish to provide computer-controlled motorbikes vs fuel-consuming old types. As you can see this will be far from what’s normal, you’re sure to expect a fair amount of resistance towards the idea and reluctance to adopting your products.

As you think about your business idea, think of what change it may mean for your customers. It should demand huge changes from them, people generally don’t like change. Rather bring in, though slowly, an improved version of what’s normal to them and steadily innovate more complex versions.