Solve A Real Problem
In 1948, after hearing the challenges faced by the president of a food sales company who wished he could automate the food sales process, Drexel graduate students Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver came up with the idea for the barcode. It wasn’t until 1973 that their bar code was accepted as the standard Universal Product Code (UPC) for products. Today the bar code is used wherever physical objects need to be tagged with information and processed by a computer. Try and imagine a world without barcodes. Great start-ups solve real problems.
Ideas Are Unique
During a recent move I came across a box labeled electronics and found my old Sony Walkman. In my opinion that product was so cutting-edge that I have been unable to let go of my own after all of these years. In 1979, Sony founder Masaru Ibuka introduced the world’s first portable cassette player, propelling the company into the forefront of electronics and as a result portable music hasn’t been the same since. Like the Sony Walkman, what makes a great start-up is that their ideas are unique.
There’s Great Potential
In 1913 Henry Ford installed the world’s first moving assembly line, in an effort to control manufacturing costs and deliver a cheaper product to the masses. In doing so I think that Ford understood that we were becoming a nation of explorers branching out to the far reaches of the country. His mission was to provide every explorer with the one tool they needed to venture out, just as long as they didn’t mind the color black. Great start-ups recognize the enormous potential in what they are doing and look for ways to capitalize on it.
A Founder’s Passion
As I listened to my friend and the other entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a room of hundreds, one thing was very clear. Regardless of the industry (education, energy, fashion, water) successful start-ups have passionate founders. It’s not only that the founders are passionate about what they do but they also understand that small business success doesn’t happen overnight. Over the years these owners have stayed committed to their dreams despite the many challenges and realize that their time is now.
There are other factors that I believe contribute to making a great start-up. Great start-ups know their target markets well. Taking a look at well established organizations, you could make the case that great start-ups have strong management teams. Lastly, great start-ups have the ability to scale their business quickly. If you can master these start-up tips at the beginning, it just might increase the chances of taking your company from just plain good to great.