There was once a common saying in grade schools that encouraged children to focus on the 3 R’s; reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was a clever way to remind children of the important foundations of a solid education, even if there was only one actual R in the 3 R’s. Well today, you’ll be introduced to the 4 S’s of startups. These represent critical facets of your young business, and will help you successfully establish a business that is poised for success in the future.
This should be your first consideration as you bring your idea from concept to reality. Have you been able to identify a solution to a problem or source of frustration for your customers? Is this solution going to improve the lives of consumers? Service is used broadly in this sense to call your attention to the value of the product you will manufacture or service you will provide. Don’t allow yourself to focus too much on the revolutionary nature of your product/service, but rather, contemplate the value of your new business.
New products and services are created all the time. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to bring something of value to the table if your business is going to succeed.
With that new service in mind, it’s time to consider whether or not you can actually deliver on the potential of your product or service. Can you actually produce the product, or successfully deliver your new services? Alternatively, is there a company that could produce your product or deliver your service for you?
As you contemplate your future business, analyzing the systems for delivery of your product or service will help determine the viability of your company’s offering. You may find out that your idea is so new that the capacity to produce and deliver it is too expensive for a startup, is limited in offering, or simply does not exist. As mentioned above, there might be a route around this if you can identify an existing company that has the capacity to make the product for you or deliver your service.
Existing companies already have the production and/or delivery systems in place, making it easier to get your idea to market faster and more efficiently. In this case though, you’ll need a licensing agreement to protect your intellectual property.
Ok, if you’ve made it to this point, you have a solid concept and have determined a viable route to get it to the market. Now, what strategy will you use to promote and distribute your product? How will you find your first customer? How will you gain market share and grow your business in the future?
A great product will only take you so far. If you don’t have a clear strategy for the success of your company, you won’t be able to survive in the long run. You need a strategy that prepares your company to survive the early months of operation, while keeping one eye focused on the long-term growth of the business. If necessary, seeking out advisers, mentors, or experienced co-founders that can help you develop a concise approach to launching the business.
Finally, you need to have some backbone. Every entrepreneur faces obstacles, and how you respond to those obstacles impacts the success of your endeavor. Are you going to have the spine to make the tough choice, take a leap of faith, and actually start this business? Or, will you simply sit on your idea and never build up the courage to pursue it?
If you take these 4 S’s to heart, you’ll find a clear path to help you establish a startup that gains early traction and enjoys long-term success.