When you are clear about your objective and know what needs to be done to get there, motivation won’t be an issue – as an entrepreneur, you may not have all the answers.
A start-up founder may have the big picture, but they may not have a step-by-step plan worked out with objectives and milestones. They may not have a clear product or service fit; they may not know what the ‘right’ price is; they may not even know who the prospect is!
It is easy to lose focus, to be frustrated and to give up. A few of the reasons for failure (as per reports)could be insufficient funds, failed partnerships, inadequate research, ineffective marketing, and not having subject matter expertise.
So, let us examine the reasons for failure and find ways to counter them:
How do funds dry up? That for a business to run successfully, there should be a constant flow of cash. The primary source of revenue is customers who are willing to pay! So, the product-market fit needs to be clear, and there needs to be a sustainable, repeatable sales process.
The second reason could be poor management of expenses/outflow. The battle is half won in the early stages if the founders learn to be frugal and focus on doing the right stuff with the available funds.
We would list the ability to raise funding until the business can start generating profits in the same bucket.
Partnerships are inevitable; a product expert prefers to have a sales expert as a partner. Conflicts can occur between partners for various reasons, such as: Who is working harder? What should get a higher budget – product development or marketing? Which team member receives a raise?
The ability to resolve these conflicts keeping in mind the benefit of the business will decide the success of the partnership and the company itself. Here is an interesting case study: Why start-ups fail?
The founders need to understand what their customers want. Sometimes the founders fall in love with their products and assume that’s what the market needs.
By becoming the salesperson in the initial days, the founders will know precisely what meets the customers’ needs.
The second reason is targeting too wide. Being able to define the niche will be the best way to reach the right target audience. It shouldn’t be so narrow that you run out of prospects, even before the business takes off. Read more in this post: Business Tips for New Entrepreneurs.
Knowing the Target Audience is paramount to be able to sell to them. Many aspects need to come together like a symphony – Product, Marketing, Sales and Accounts. Focus on your core expertise and outsource the marketing to an agency. Providing them with the relevant support will help create visibility & sales.
Subject Matter Expertise
It is best for the business if the founders are the subject matter experts; if not, they need to hire experts. It is considered a strategic advantage and tends to impact the performance of the businesses positively. It also helps in training employees needed to run the business.
But the most critical element is to stay motivated! To be able to tackle the various aspects that need unwavering attention from the founders.
Making A Difference
Extrinsic motivations push business owners to set overwhelming goals and often work against them. On the other hand, wanting to make a difference can motivate and keep them going.
In his book Flow, author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks of 3 aspects – setting a goal, paying attention and being immersed in the work or skill. He also talks about repetitive work becoming a drag. The enjoyment one can get from constantly challenging one’s skills to grow is critical for a business owner. The thirst for knowledge that helps them grow their business, and themselves, motivates many founders.
Love your work: If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success – Jack Canfield.
Entrepreneurs who focus on making money by cashing out are successful. However, it is the journey that one enjoys most if they love what they are doing. And that is the greatest motivator!