Wednesday, 01 June 2011 16:38

The 10 ingredients to start-up success

Is there a perfect recipe for start-up success? Like most recipes, the result will change depending on whose hand is on the pan.


Every entrepreneur will add their own special spices, plate up their offering slightly different and deal with kitchen disasters in their own way!


I’ve listed out my own favourite recipe for start-up success below, one that I’ve shared with many women venturing into business, and seen it cooked and served in a smorgasbord of ways, all as delicious as each other.


These are my 10 ingredients for starting up – and staying up.


  1. Vision: project ahead and envisage where the business is going. Anticipate changes in the marketplace and be ready when they happen, recognise opportunity and obstacles and plan for both.
  2. Hard work: Plan to work hard and enjoy, knowing the fruits of your labour are for you and your future. Be prepared to make compromises in your personal and social life to reach your goals.
  3. Good leadership: You need excellent interpersonal skills to be able to inspire and motivate others and yourself. You may think what you do is a micro business, but your conduct can inspire macro change around you.
  4. Take calculated risks: Entrepreneurship is defined by a degree of risk taking, but risks should be well considered and planned. You have to believe in your “gut” or your intuition and learn to trust it, even if you don’t know why at the time.
  5. Be resourceful: Success in getting your product to market is about problem solving, whether the problem is money, time or sales. Assume you will have little of each and find creative ways to address the problems.
  6. Collaborate don’t compete: Ask for help and offer it to others, the more players in your market, the more vibrant your sector is. Look for opportunities to work with other businesses and achieve the efficiencies and scalability gains this strategy will offer.
  7. Guerilla marketing: You know all those Facebook friends and twitter feeders you have: they are your direct sales, marketing and product development targets. Understand the rules and risks of social media, place your brand at the feet of the world and begin a two-way conversation with your clients – current and future.
  8. Know your strengths… and weaknesses: We can’t be good at everything, so decide what you are best at, and what you need to pay someone else to do. Don’t avoid a part of your business because you don’t understand it
  9. Self-belief: Have faith in yourself and your abilities, you are the frontline representative of your brand, of course you are a genius and it is the best product ever made. Your unswerving belief in your own success is the best protection you can have against the good and tough times in your start-up.
  10. Get motivated: It’s hard, its risky, sometimes scary and unknown, but you do it because you are passionate. Surround yourself with positive can-do people, get a mentor and set some challenging goals. Reward yourself along the way and celebrate your successes with your friends, supporters and customers.
Dr Polly McGee a co-founder of Startup Tasmania, which aids fast-growth start-ups in the state. She’s behind the MumpreneurIDEAS program, a one day workshop that assists women to start-up and is also a senior lecturer in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Tasmania in their MBA and undergraduate program.

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