Three questions for startups

For all the startup successes you hear about, the business world is also plagued by start-up failures. After all, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months. For many people, the idea of not having a boss or set work hours is incredibly appealing. Of course, being your own boss means that work never ends, but often, when you’ve started something that you’re passionate about, you don’t want it to. If you are passionate about your career as an entrepreneur, you definitely don’t want it to end. If you’re the owner of a startup, here are some questions that you should probably ask yourself in order to help gauge the health of your new business venture.

1) Are you unique? As more and more people turn to entrepreneurship for an income, it becomes more and more important that you know how to stand out. You need to have a unique value proposition – a value that you bring to the marketplace that others simply do not. Without a unique value proposition, you might not fail immediately – but you certainly won’t succeed, either. If you’re not sure whether your value proposition is unique, pick up some books on the topic and go back to doing the market research and analysis of the competition that you did when you started your business. If you aren’t unique enough, you might need to refine your business concept until you are.

2) Do you have the right location? Even if your startup is primarily an online venture, it’s still important to have the right physical location. After all, you will still want to do some in-person networking and you will probably have a physical office location. For those things, location is important. Traditionally, Silicon Valley and major cities are good locations for start-ups because of the hiring and networking opportunities that they provide. However, depending on the nature of your start-up, you may want to look into other locales. After all, if you’re marketing snowshoes it probably doesn’t make sense to set up shop in Florida.

3) Is your social networking up to par? According to eMarketer, 1 in 4 people in the world use social media. It’s ubiquitous. While television advertising can be pretty expensive, social media advertising doesn’t have to cost a dime. Also, unlike with television advertising, people don’t have DVR to skip the commercials. If you use social media correctly, people don’t want to skip your “commercial” because it seems like something fun and social, not like advertising.

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.