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Apr 14th, 2017 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed (And Fail)

In 2015 Bill Gross, famed founder of startup factory Idea Lab, talked on the TED stage about “The single biggest reason why startups succeed”. His finding after analyzing hundreds of companies — both out of his own portfolio as well as others: Timing

From my own experience, I couldn’t agree more. With some caveats.

To start with, you need to build something which solves a real problem. Sounds trivial — but all too many companies just don’t solve an actual customer pain point or drive value for their users.

Secondly, you need something which is a big enough problem that it’s financially viable to solve. It usually goes hand in hand with the former point — yet sometimes you find actual problems worth solving, but they are so small or insignificant that they can’t sustain a business.

Thirdly, and this goes without saying, you need to execute and execute well.

Once these conditions are met, timing becomes vital. I have seen way too many companies being too early (a common challenge for anyone in the disruptive tech space) and many more being too late (launching the nth social network years after Facebook). Sadly timing is an elusive thing and hard to predict. Often the best you can do is to carefully look at the technology you are using and predict the development of its price/performance ratio — determining the point when it hits the “good enough”–line. And in parallel monitor customer behavior and preferences to figure out when the lines of technology and customer demand cross.

One thing is for sure though: Never underestimate timing as a primary success factor!

I suggest looking at your product/technology and figure out where you stand in terms of timing and optimize for the outcome of the age–old saying: “Right place, right time”.

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