Sanjay Sehgal is an entrepreneur, startup advisor, keynote speaker and philanthropist. Currently, the CEO of MSys Technologies.
The definition of “success” in life is really a dynamic one. While some define success in terms of monetary gains, others might consider it a means of creating a contented lifestyle or, my personal favorite, being able to successfully solve a problem many people face. Success in the world of startups is also a relative topic and depends on the founders.
It is always difficult to keep the same momentum throughout the various phases of building a startup. When a startup begins its journey, it often has great momentum due to the founder’s enthusiasm. However, with time, the passion and momentum can fizzle out. As a result, the company becomes stagnant and has a hard time moving forward. Customer interest slows down. The value and opportunities created by the product also become insubstantial. So, if you want to set your business up for success and maintain your momentum, you need to follow a few steps.
1. Empower your staff to succeed.
Your employees are your biggest asset. As a founder, you likely have a vision and definite goals in mind. Ensure your employees have a clear understanding of your vision and those goals. In the case of a startup, your employees are not just paid resources. Develop a team with an entrepreneurial mindset and empower them with knowledge. According to the Work Trend Index Special Report by Microsoft, 76% of employees would stay with a company longer if they got more learning and development support.
2. Celebrate every win—big or small—and learn from every loss.
While running a startup, no one can guarantee that you will only see good days. There will be bad days. There will be rejections. Clients will cancel their accounts. Valued employees might quit. But along with these, there will be victories, too. You might receive a new investment. You will get the clients you have been working so hard to gain, and those clients might bring even bigger opportunities for you. So, celebrate every win you get, no matter how big it is. In my experience, this can make your team feel more confident.
3. Promote work-life balance.
Research by Microsoft also found that 53% of employees are focusing more on health and well-being in the post-pandemic world. So, every startup founder or executive needs to ensure a better work-life balance for their employees. The idea that overworking is the way to go is now outdated. Overworking can lead to burnout for employees and doesn’t necessarily lead to better output. I believe that if you are not letting your employees take breaks, they are going to quit.
4. Manage cash flow well.
Running a business requires regular cash flow. This sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I’ve observed that a number of startups dwindle due to disruptions in cash flow. Without the funds, you cannot keep up with the operation. You cannot pay the bills and the salary of your employees. You cannot purchase the necessary raw materials or resources to continue production. As a result, you might have to close the doors pretty soon. A healthy startup is always focused on both customer traction and fundraising, as both are required for growth.
5. Take full responsibility.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be responsible for anything that happens to your business. This does not mean taking the fall when you had nothing to do with it. Entrepreneurial responsibility means not placing blame and instead focusing on the solution. For example, if there is a deadlock in the workflow, instead of blaming the team, find out where the problem is and take it from there.
6. Prioritize customer intimacy.
Creating a loyal customer base should always be a priority for any business. That is why the first customers a startup receives are critical. They can provide the most honest feedback that can help you modify and customize your product as per the demands of the market. Also, if this batch of initial customers is impressed with your product, they can become your endorsers. They can spread the word in the community and the potential customer base you are trying to attract. Introducing referral programs for customers can boost their enthusiasm to endorse you even more.
Building a successful business is not an overnight endeavor. This is a mission that demands vision, hard work, smart work, dedication, persistence and perseverance. In the end, your goal is not just revenue. Ultimately, you want a happy and content life as an entrepreneur. These ideas can help you build something that helps the community and makes you proud.