What are the Few Things Every Startup Needs?

Posted by Robert Norton on

Yikes. You are getting some bad answers here. In fact, some don’t even seem to know what a startup is really. Below is a link to a free video series I authored called The Entrepreneur's Journey, and it maps out almost everything a startup needs, mostly the stuff they don’t know they need.

However, let’s start with that definition of the word startup. A startup is not copying someone else's business model, freelancing or opening a dry cleaner. It is doing something new and different. Combining resources uniquely to create value for customers. In fact, if you are not doing something new and different (differentiated) you will never, ever attract either capital or quality senior people. This is called “Innovation”. And without it you have no startup. If you did not know that you are not ready to found a startup company yet and should stick to some simple service business while you learn the list of skills below.

A startup has a UNIQUE business model, ideally one that can build Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) or barriers to entry, so that the company cannot be cloned by 1,000 other copycats in a couple of years before they achieve some scale. Startups must achieve scale before larger incumbents duplicate their innovation.

Being a CEO of a startup is the most complex job there is today. People greatly underestimate what it takes to be successful. That is why more than 80% will fail. It takes at least 10 and more likely`5+ years' experience to accumulate the experience needed for a high chance of success.

Entrepreneurship University

Here is a list of the skills we teach at The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp to at least triple a Founder’s chances of success based on my 30 years as a Serial Entrepreneur, over 1,000 books, hundreds of consulting engagements and hundreds of experts:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Management
  3. Marketing & Branding
  4. Product Development & Innovation
  5. Operations, customer services
  6. Finance
  7. Sales
  8. Raising capital
  9. Leadership

  10. Competitive Intelligence
  11. Market Research
  12. Vision
  13. Competitive Strategy
  14. Organizational Development (OD)
  15. Industry/domain expertise

Now the CEO does not need to be an expert in these, but that expertise is needed on a team, and they need to understand how to manage that area including knowing when someone else is good at it to execute.

I have created a 3-part video course here reviewing this in more detail called The Entrepreneur's Journey here. These total about an hour. If you do not have the discipline and drive to watch every minute, you are not ready to be a CEO. Are you ready for “the truth”? Can you handle it? (He says with a Jack Nicolson grin) This is how to find out how ready you are. And save yourself enormous loss and pain trying to do something you are not ready for yet. And if you are not ready yet you will learn how to plan to get ready if founding a company is your goal, or in your blood.

Most companies fail because they do not prepare and recruit a diverse team with experience in all key risk areas. Usually the Founder/CEO is the limiting factor too.

Join the course How to Raise Millions from Outside Investors

Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.

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