15.06.2018 Formation, Funding

5 Things You Can Learn from Successful Startups

Companies have transformed countless lives by changing the way we eat, travel, shop and communicate. What does it take for a newly founded business to prosper and have an impact on society and economy? What do successful entrepreneurs have in common and how can we learn from them?

In 1994, a young American named Jeff Bezos started an online bookstore in the garage of his home in Washington. One year later, the company sold its first book under the URL www.amazon.com and in 1997, the little online bookstore went public. In the following two centuries, Amazon became the world’s largest online retailer and Bezos one of the richest men in the world. The online platform changed the way shopping is done forever. Other (former) startups like ovulation tracker Ava, ride sharing service BlaBlaCar and food saver app Too Good to Go have transformed the way we live, travel, commute and eat.

Below are five things that successful entrepreneurs have in common and how startup founders can learn from them.

1. Be disruptive

Within the last years, ‘disruptive’ has become a trendy and often used word for describing companies, technologies or work methods. To stand out from the crowd means to have unusual, innovative and unique ideas that solve an existing problem. Think of what regularly annoys you and how this problem could be handled differently than it is now, ask around if other people feel the same and develop a solution that improves the status quo.

A good example for this is SONECT, an alumnus of the F10 “Prototype to Product” program: SONECT founder and CEO Sandipan Chakraborty often forgets to visit ATMs, withdraw money and keep cash in his wallet. On a snowy Friday night, he was hurrying to the next ATM – which was about 600 meters from his home – and watched his neighborhood pizzeria selling pizzas and filling up their cash register to the brink while he was in desperate need of cash to pay for the babysitter. Sandipan’s arduous journey to the next ATM led to founding his startup SONECT which allows end users to withdraw cash while dining out at a restaurant or when having a pizza delivered. The owners of shops, restaurants and deliveries benefit by gaining new clients, offering a better customer experience and reducing their cash overheads. Since operational costs of ATMs are also reduced, banks could benefit from SONECT’s decentralized cash distribution model as well. Sandipan and his team won the global Innovation Jam by Temenos in Dublin in May 2018 for their business idea.

Do you also have a business idea that solves a frequent problem? Applications for the F10 “Prototype to Product” program tailored for startups with promising ideas on how to revolutionize the fintech sector are currently being accepted and reviewed. More information and registration.

2. Stay focused

Do not try to do everything at once. Studies show that multitasking or doing multiple activities simultaneously leads to less satisfying results than handling each point on the to-do list separately. You should learn to delegate and focus on the most relevant tasks at hand which is finding a way to solve the problem mentioned above. Establish a firm priority system.

3. Value your customers

Get regular feedback from the market by doing usability tests, surveys or interviews. Take the feedback seriously and adapt your product or service accordingly. Customer needs and preferences change over time. Make sure to not miss those changes.

4. Never forget your vision

Keep in mind that you founded the startup with a certain idea. Jana Nevrlka, cofounding expert and author of the book “Cofounding the Right Way” states: “Your vision is the big picture that does directly determine some of the decisions you might face as a team sooner rather than later.” Jana advises that every cofounder buys into the business purpose and is willing to use it as a compass for future decisions. “The vision is the red thread that should be weaved into your business plan, team, employees, company culture, customers and everything you do!”

5. Really commit to your startup

Founding a startup is hard work and probably requires more commitment than any of your previous jobs. Therefore, it is essential that you fully commit to your startup. Quit your safe full-time job and spend all your energy on the new company.

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