4 Tips to Building a Company with Staying Power

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

Staying Power, Notre Dame University, 1 Year Masters Program, ESTEEMIn the startup community it's best to not emotionally connected to many businesses. They come and go so frequently that it's tough to know which ones will be around 1, 2, or 3 years from now. So here are a few tips on how to make sure your company is not making the same mistakes as so many flash in the pan startups: 

Diversify Your Knowledge: There needs to be trust in your company - to allow others to take charge of things that you are not an expert at - but understanding your business and technology as in-depth as possible will make your company more strong in the long run. Having an understanding of how your product works, and having an understanding of running a business will not only increase investment (it's always good to show an understanding of both aspects for investors) but will also make you feel more confident in delegating. As a business owner you'll be able to know what exactly you need, and the more you know about your business and where you fall short will allow you to build a better team to surround you. 

Commit: One of the issues often run into in the startup community is that entrepreneurs are often always coming up with ideas; it's what keeps them constantly innovating. However, there is a tendency to try to start multiple companies or take on many projects all at the same time, often to the point that nothing really gets done on any of the projects. As a business owner, especially once you get employees, you need to show your employees you are fully committed to the work they are doing. Focus is as important as innovation but often isn't something entrepreneurs have; this will give you staying power. 

Be Ready for Success: One of hard parts of being in the startup community is that you spend so much time hustling to get by for the next couple of months that once you "break through" and get a large customer base, it's hard to transition. From the start it's important to understand both, what comes with success and what comes with scrapping by. Imagine launching a t-shirt company that sells 10 shirts a week and then with little transition breaking through and getting 1,000 orders a week. Now you have to figure out how to buy/print/ship 1,000 shirts - they have to understand the logistics of selling 1,000 shirts, they have to learn financing for 1,000 shirts and they have to find fulfillment methods - all in a few days. Quick growth like this often sinks small companies.

Be a User: In 2012 the Kaufman Foundation did a study on startups and found that about half of the "Innovative US Startups" are founded by "user entrepreneurs" where the entrepreneur identifies as the end user. This study also showed that only 10% of startups last over 5 years and that user entrepreneurs are bring tangible ideas to the table that other entrepreneurs do not. "User entrepreneurs are different from other entrepreneurs," said E.J. Reedy, Kauffman Foundation research and policy fellow and co-author of the report. "It is clear that these entrepreneurs are coming into their businesses with more tangible ideas, innovations or customers to build a successful firm."

While these ideas do not necessarily guarantee staying power, they are great things to have in mind as you build your company. What are other ideas you might have for build a company with staying power?