It takes a lot of courage to step out into your chosen industry and start a business from the ground up. While there is an element of luck involved, being prepared for all outcomes is crucial to your business surviving and learning more about the competitive world of startups.

There are nearly 2 billion Google Search results for “how to make a business successful”, so looking online for the answer to make sure your startup stays afloat can be a bit overwhelming. Advice from those who have seen success first-hand could provide more insight than the numerous corporate blogs.

Hilton Smythe founder and CEO, Gareth Smyth, said “New entrepreneurs need to conduct thorough market research, check out local competition, investigate labour supply, and ensure that they are solving a problem within their chosen sector. They need to have a very clear idea what their company values are, and how they can distinguish themselves from competitors.

“Many new entrepreneurs also underestimate start-up costs, especially where there are physical premises – from property rents, commercial insurance, digital infrastructure, marketing costs, equipment and supplies, stock, and staffing and employment costs, there is an awful lot to think about. It is for this reason that we recommend seeking advice from a trusted financial adviser.

“It is also important to stress the importance of delegation and hiring the expertise that you lack; this will increase productivity and efficiency, prevent burnout, and ultimately improve the quality of your service.”

In this article, we’ve selected a few quotes from entrepreneurs who have seen success with their startup businesses and how we can use their words and apply them.

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“If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.” – Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb

Airbnb has grown from the idea of founders Chesky and Joe Gebbia in their living room in San Francisco in 2007 to a globally recognised hosting and accommodation business valued at $113 billion. In the above quote from Chesky, he identifies that the idea for the business comes from the need to solve an issue he faced.

You may be tempted to jump into an industry you’re not familiar with if you can identify an area that needs filling. Knowing your industry and the problems your knowledge can solve can help provide your business with a direction to follow.

This is reinforced by advice from Virta Health co-founder Sami Inkinen, who said, “Starting a company extracts so much energy and conviction that not having a clear-cut goal and meaningful mission can hamper your success. This is why, at Virta, our mission was clearly defined: reverse early type-2 diabetes in 100 million people by 2025.”

“If you can offer a free tier that provides much value, it will naturally help your product to spread much more rapidly.” – Melanie Perkins, Co-founder of Canva

This advice slots into finding your audience within your industry. It can be difficult to display your value to potential investors or customers, so offering some form of a trial period or free tier can help get your foot in the door and make them want to pay for more of your service.

Once you have an established audience that you can rely on to pay for your services, you can look at upselling and progressing to the next level. When building a plan for upselling to your customers, remember that everyone in the sale is human with their hesitancies. Subroto Bagchi, a co-founder of Mindtree, provided insightful commentary on this: “Selling is not a pushy, winner-takes-all, macho act. It is an empathy-led, process-driven, and knowledge-intensive discipline. Because, in the end, people buy from people.”

“You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” -Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot

Possibly the most important advice to accept is that failure is a natural part of building a business. There is a significant amount of risk when setting up a new business, with statistics showing that around 20% of startups are dissolved in the first year as a company.

There is every chance that despite examining forecasts and having a unique and creative solution to offer a market, it doesn’t work out the way you hoped it would. This can be disheartening and can have a knock-on effect on your business and its situation, but one thing we can take from Jessica Herrin’s quote is not to treat failure as the end of your business.

Resilience can be a key factor in the survival of a business. While you may experience financial shortcomings or, due to competitive market trends, sticking with your knowledge and your team, you may see fortunes change.