Calling all startups: How is the startup success boulevard bricked?

The harshest statistic from the global startup community in 2023 is that 90% of startups fail. On a more positive note, there are quite a lot of start ups, and the number is growing. Between 2021 and 2022 the number of startups in the US increased by 40%. Brazil, Europe & South Korea saw an increase in the number of startups in 2021/2022. Many are prepared to take on the challenge although it is reasonably difficult to succeed. To be the master of your own destiny and in control of all aspects of your life are bait enough for many to take the leap.

Start up activities statistics reflect a particular year. With bait like that, surely people will try a few times?

Startups defined

A startup is a business in the early stages of operations.  There are loads of different categories and definitions according to different schools of thought.  Venture capitalists define billion dollar startups as unicorns, whereas some investors define startups according to the type of person who started them, their size or scalability. 

What does an Entrepreneur look like?

Many people think of entrepreneurs as visionaries who are from the future and way ahead of all of the rest of us.  Certainly, there are many who seem and are so, but I think they come in all different shapes and sizes.  One thing they all have in common is the ability to take risks, even if calculated, and a fiercely independent nature.  Even with that said, many successful entrepreneurs are pushed into the world of business ownership due to lack of opportunity.

What resources are available to startups?

Let’s first look at what environment an entrepreneur needs in order to glide into the business ownership world. As cited by many the criteria are a stable legal framework, fair taxes and a flexible and supportive government. Along with access to technology like the internet and the quality of that technology like internet speed. Including a good transport infrastructure, a good education system that is integrated with the work world and availability of talent.  Access to investment and capital, low crime and a good standard of living are important.    

Government support can help a lot, especially in hard times.  Options for governments to support their new business sectors include grants and zero or low interest loans. Additionally, employee support and easy access to investment or venture capital.

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Along the boulevard to start up success, what can one expect?

Starting a business can be challenging, but with planning, forethought and taking each step at a time this can be overcome. Let’s discuss the main challenges. The primary challenges for startups include facing the corporate world. Unless you have a novel product, you are going head on into a well resourced and aggressive corporate world. 19% of business leaders cite competition as the biggest challenge. The primary reason for failure is cited as misunderstood demand. A great argument for marketing research, and a conundrum as adequate research is very expensive and way above what most startups can afford. Sourcing talent is difficult and expensive, and so vital for success. Finding investment opportunities can be a challenge. As with any venture there are risks and pitfalls as you go. Anything can jump out and surprise you. You need to be flexible and resilient.

The ingredients of the souffle of startup stardom

In my opinion the main ingredient that makes the softest, fluffiest startup souffle is perseverance.  Once you have set your mind to starting your own business, the key is to stick at it.  You will have to be able to think on your feet, be prepared to make a plan and DIY almost anything.  Life does not always go as planned and you have to be prepared for any eventuality. Resilience, persistence and determination will go a long way. 

Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.


So then, what is digital marketing’s role?

If you have a great product what’s the point if no one knows it’s out there or where to get it.  A vital aspect of marketing is communication.  Marketing communication tells people what you sell and where they can get it.  All the better to use digital marketing for startups as costs are much lower and budgets can often be tight. Additionally, it is essential to have a marketing strategy in place, along with your business strategy,  as a road map for success.  Marketing can help startups to build their new brand and increase sales.  Thus, setting the business up for success in the long term.  

Common advice to new business owners is that branding is a lifelong commitment and if you start wrong it can be very difficult to fix. Certainly, take it slow and build your brand to be one of value, it will pay off a thousand fold in the long term. Don’t confuse sales with brand building. You can easily generate sales in the short term and brand build over the long term. All this will mean is scalability, growth and success in the future. Think of sales as short term cash flow and brand building as investment in future sales, that will then come more easily and at a lower cost. In order for your new brand to bloom season after season you must carefully nurture it.

If you would like help with your marketing get in touch!

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