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December 17, 2019

The secret ingredients for a successful start-up

by Louise Cunnah posted in Quick Tips.

Ayoa | The secret ingredients for a successful start-up
Starting your own business isn’t a task for the faint-hearted. It requires plenty of ambition, even more drive, and as much of your time and energy as you can spare. Unfortunately, with companies not officially leaving the ‘start-up’ phase until they’re five years old, and 9 out of 10 start-ups failing, there can be a lot hanging in the balance when you make the exciting decision to start your own.

Don’t look at this statistic and feel disheartened, though. Instagram, Pinterest, Airbnb, Groupon and a wealth of other household names were once just ideas waiting to be made a reality (and often starting out as a ‘side hustle’), with their creators having no idea of the impact they would soon have on the world. So, why couldn’t the same happen to you?

The reasons behind a company’s success story aren’t always the same – but as with the recipe for any tasty dish, there are certain ingredients you need to add to the pot to create a successful start-up. Many will tell you that ‘luck’ is one of them, and though this may be true in many cases, your destiny isn’t completely out of your hands.

There are plenty of other ingredients that can help you, as well as things you can do to ensure you have as many of these ready as possible before you start cooking up your new business venture…

A great idea

The idea maketh the business. Without a compelling idea that’s going to fulfill a need or desire for your customers, achieving success is going to be nigh on impossible. Now, if you already have an idea, that’s great! The next step is to see if it’s viable. However, if you need a little help to get to that eureka moment, the things you need to consider are essentially the same.

First things first; research your market. Can you identify a gap? Look into your competitors and see if you have something different to offer – or if there’s room for others to emerge, ask yourself if you can do what they’re already doing, but better. Again, think about what the customer wants – how can you fulfill this? Is anyone actually asking for what you can offer? More importantly, will you be able to execute your idea? If you’re struggling to tick more than one of these off your list, you might have to go back to the drawing board.

Close up of lightbulb

The right time

Okay, so this is one ingredient where a little bit of luck is involved. The way to make the Wheel of Fortune more likely to spin in your favor, though? Research, research, and then when you think you’re done, research some more. Knowing the ins and out of your market and industry will certainly help with understanding the most profitable times that you can capitalize on – and you should already have a good knowledge of this from when you first devised the idea for your product or service.

Sometimes, you can have everything in place; a high quality, yet cost-effective product and all the budget you need to get the word out about it. But sadly, none of this matters if your customers don’t know they want that product. There needs to be evidence that your idea can provide the solution to a problem that your future customer base needs solving now. Just think about it this way; a beachwear brand may be targeting the wrong audience if they only sell their products in Iceland.

Powerful contacts

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” – and in some cases, this is very true. Forging relationships with useful contacts could put your startup in front of the right person, propelling you into success quicker than you could have dreamed of. Whether it’s in the form of future business partners, investors, influencers or even potential clients, networking can be a simple and cost-effective way of introducing yourself to these lifelines.

Unsure of where to start making contacts? A good jumping-off point would be to research local networking events to attend – even in the digital age, face-to-face meetings are still vital when it comes to building relationships. Nonetheless, LinkedIn is a great tool for getting your name out to people who might be interested in your business – whether this is achieved through groups (there are plenty for startups and small businesses) or by simply sending connections to relevant people. Just make sure you have a rationale behind who you choose, such as them being in the same city or industry as you. This will make them far more likely to click the ‘Accept’ button and show an interest in your business.


If your startup’s in the early stages of its existence, it’s likely that you’re still a one-man-band. Until you have the funds to shape and grow your team, this can involve juggling many plates at once; from marketing your product to managing the finances. To keep everything running as smoothly as possible, you need to be as organized as you can be. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help you do this with ease.

This is where work management software comes in handy. Though spreadsheets still have their place (their simple format and easy to input formulas make them great for figures and finances), they can quickly become very ‘busy’ and overwhelming. Dedicated work management software, such as Ayoa, puts your tasks in a visual format, allowing you to easily categorize them, and add due dates and reminders. This makes it easy to track your business’s progress in various areas. From your marketing campaigns, to your sales and finances.

Financial support

We’d like to say that money isn’t everything, but it does make the world go round – particularly when it comes to business. In fact, one of the reasons that so many start-ups fail so early into their existence is because they don’t have enough funding. Fortunately, the good news is that the amount of capital you need isn’t as large as it used to be. As the Angel Investment Network explains, a recent survey found that start-ups in the UK require around £10,000 in funding.

Nowadays, there are various ways to raise the necessary funds needed to start your business, including crowdfunding (where many people donate small amounts of money) and peer-to-peer lending (which helps businesses find investors online). A number of business loans and grants are also available for both US and UK based businesses to apply for – you just need to look for them, and do plenty of research to determine the best option for you. Some good places to start are the Start Up Loans Company (which is recommended by the UK government website) and the FitSmallBusiness list of Startup Business Loans for 2019.

Pile of coins on table


Finally, a Positive Mental Attitude (or PMA as the kids are now calling it) is essential for anyone that’s starting their own business. Though it’s an exciting process, it’s also one that can involve its fair share of difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes it can feel like for every step forward, you’ll soon take 5 steps back. This is something that can make even the most positive person turn into a Debbie Downer.

The secret to having a PMA? It’s realizing that sometimes things are simply out of your control. You also need to keep reminding yourself of the positives; the things you have already achieved in your startup journey, as well as the other great things you have in your life such as your family and friends. Staying focused on your end goal and picking yourself up after every set back will keep you pushing forwards. Making sure you’re sleeping well, eating right, and regularly stepping away from your work to look after your mental health can also really help.

Whether your dream is still waiting to be made a reality or you’re already establishing your brand, Ayoa is an essential ingredient for helping you to achieve startup success. Devise creative and innovative ideas with Mind Mapping tools and seamlessly manage every process with its Task Management capabilities – whether you’re flying solo or you work with a team. Discover Ayoa’s full feature set or get started for free today.

Louise Cunnah

Louise Cunnah has always had a passion for the written word, leading to her studying English, Media and Journalism at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Since graduating in 2014, she has held a number of different roles in marketing, both agency-side and in-house for brands like Ayoa. She loves taking on a challenge and has written content on a diverse range of subjects over the years, including horticulture, business management, telecommunications, health and safety, productivity, neurodiversity, and personal finance (to name but a few!).

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