The 6 startup success habits to practice in the new year

Updated on 4 January 2016

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The 6 startup success habits to practice in the new year

A study by accounting and payroll company Sage shows that 80% of startups fail in their first three years.

According to Martin Zwilling, founder, and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides services to startup founders around the world, most people are unaware that a business owner’s habits can be a determining factor as to whether the business venture will succeed or fail, he says in an article on Forbes.

“In my years of working with entrepreneurs, I have heard many times the promise that their new idea will create the next Amazon or Apple, but I rarely hear the more important promise that the founder will practice all the good habits of winning entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs,” he says.

Habits for success

A lot of focus in the startup community, according to Zwilling, is placed on creating the best technology and process, rather than practicing the most effective habits.

Zwilling suggests these 6 habits to help startup founders find success.

1. Create your own definition of success

“Begin with the end in mind, your definition of success based on your principles,” says Zwilling.

He says that business owners need to remember that they won’t be effective centering their life around someone else’s definition of success, satisfaction, and happiness, instead, they should find their own success model.

“Make sure you have a personal mission statement before you try to define one for your new business,” he says.

2. Be willing to work on the business as well as in the business

Many entrepreneurs, especially technologists, Zwilling says, enjoy building the product, and assume the business will build itself.

“Effective entrepreneurs always put first things first, expect needs to change, and manage with discipline. That means knowing when to delegate, enlist help, and say no.”

3. Strive for win-win relationships and agreements

Zwilling says successful startups are more about stakeholder win-win relationships than win-lose with competitors and vendors.

“Win-win performance agreements make for effective team members, partners, and investors. Win-win puts the responsibility on the entrepreneur to deliver results,” he says.

4. Seek  first to understand

“Communication is one of the most important skills in business. With today’s interactive social media, there is no reason to assume that you know what customers want, or they know what you have,” says Zwilling

It’s critical that startup founders adopt a habit of engaging and communicating with their customers, he says.

5. Build synergistic business relationships

It’s important that entrepreneurs also focus on building working relationships with other entrepreneurs. Working with others not only results in greater exposure to business opportunities but it can also mean gaining a different perspective, says Zwilling.

“Different points of view, even healthy conflict, is the key to innovative solutions and timely required change,” he says.

6. Practice continuous learning and self-renewal

“Renewal is the principle and the process that empowers entrepreneurs to move through an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement,” says Zwilling.

He says that this is often called sharpening the saw.

“It facilitates learning, committing, and doing business on an increasingly higher plane,” he says.

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