How can you keep from being one of the three?
A stat being tossed around a lot these days is that three out of four startups fail. Such odds even seem favorable when compared to direr (and possibly more realistic) observations that “nine out of ten startups fail.” Neil Patel made that claim on Forbes.com, suggesting that “entrepreneurs may even want to write their failure post-mortem before they launch their business.”
What causes these failures?
A look at more than one hundred essays by the CEOs of failed startups two years ago revealed to Fortune.com “that the number-one reason for failure, cited by 42% of polled startups, is the lack of a market need for their product.” Most inventors and innovators imagine that they are providing something people need—the next best mousetrap. Yet, according to these CEOs, there was a clear misalignment between imagination and market reality.
How can someone avoid that threat?
A look at other items in the poll—pricing/cost issues, poor marketing, ignoring the customer and mistimed product launches—provides a clue. The one thing that all of these threats have in common is that they are sales and marketing issues. They are all things that are discussed in SMstudy’s Marketing Strategy, volume one of A Guide to the SMstudy® Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge (SMBOK® Guide).
Marketing Strategy has an entire section titled “Analyze Market Opportunity,” which would definitely help avoid the problem of having a product without a market. Pricing and cost issues can be addressed with knowledge gained from the section on “Determine Pricing and Distribution Strategies.”
The book discusses PESTEL Analysis, which entrepreneurs can use to evaluate macro-environmental factors such as political,economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors that affect the successful and timely launch of a product or service.
Writing about “Ten Essential Startup Lessons” for Entrepreneur, John Rampton includes as his number 7, “Become a salesperson. If you want your startup to succeed, then you must sell. You’re going to have to market the company’s product to employees, investors and clients.” Then he asks, “But did you ever take a ‘Salesperson 101’ course in college?”
The complete SMBOK® Guide is more than just “Salesperson 101.” It includes books on branding and advertising, digital marketing, corporate sales and market research. For the inventor, innovator and entrepreneur, the six books that make up theGuide give insight and direction for turning their product or service into a business—a business that has customers.
Offering some “Startup Advice” on BothSidesoftheTable.com, Mark Suster says, “When you start your company the very first question you need to ask yourself is which kind of customers do you want to serve.” He discusses going after elephants—what others call “whales”—when one really needs to hunt deer. It’s a great analogy and explains one of the reasons startups often have “suboptimal results.” Defining the market and identifying market segments is covered at length in Marketing Strategy.
A Guide to the SMstudy® Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge by SMstudy is not a collection of inspiring or amusing anecdotes about sales that hit the stratosphere; they are practical, process-oriented collections of processes and best practices that help companies create and develop sales and marketing plans and departments that succeed.
SMstudy also offers courses online and in mobile apps that put the information entrepreneurs need where they are when they need it.
How can you keep from being one of the three . . . or one of the nine? Start your startup with SMstudy.
 Patel, Neil. (1/16/15) “90% of Startups Fail: Here’s What You Need to Know about the 10%.” Forbes.com Retrieved on 2/12/16 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/#185237c255e1
 Griffith, Erin. (9/25/14) “Why startups fail, according to their founders.” Fortune. Retrieved on 2/12/16 from http://fortune.com/2014/09/25/why-startups-fail-according-to-their-founders/
 Rampton, John. (7/25/14) “Ten essential Startup Lessons That You may not have Learned in College.” Entrepreneur. Retrieved on 2/11/16 from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235905.
 Suster, Mark. “Startup Advice.” BothSidesoftheTable.com. Retrieved on 2/11/16 from http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/on-entrepeneurship/