The Keys to a Successful Startup

By Fernando Berrocal

All great businesses have three things in common: pursuit of a distinct goal, a productive culture in today's reality, and the concentration to accomplish its objectives.  In today’s business ecosystem, startup owners can manifest these key values in several ways.



Making money and having purpose are not a uniform concept.  Around the world, businesses go in and out of business every day because owners and executives don’t think about how to make the startup significant in its market.  Clear vision helps organizations thrive on a long term scale.  Vision is the future desire we strive to make a present day reality. When you want your knowledge of an issue to benefit others - and it becomes an objective - you have a vision.  No amount of effort or money can compensate for a lack of perspective in startups.  A real change for your business can be achieved only with a clear vision that you and your collaborators can determine and pursue.

Alt text for the image above: Startup Vision for Success

In today’s business ecosystem, a capable leader uses vision as a stepping stone to the success of a organization. "If you don't have a vividly clear, compelling, and well-communicated vision, then people come to work every day and don't know what they are supposed to do in the office," said John Spence, who oversaw projects in 20 countries as CEO of the International Rockefeller Foundation (at age 26!)  "They execute their respective jobs, but they have no idea why or where they or the business are headed".

Undefined objectives and wishful thinking won’t take you far in the long run.  Only defined goals generate concentrated support, whereas vague objectives act as roadblocks in your way to success. When you are establishing the vision for your business, ask yourself the following three questions:

1. What would the world be like if your vision became a reality?

2. In your perspective, what is the value of people?

3. Is it worth your time and effort?


If vision is a belief in a positive future, culture is the belief system. Culture is a productive relationship centered on a common objective. An organization's inner psychological energy is provided by culture, which instills a feeling of purpose. Culture is the dynamism and vitality that all processes gain from the combined efforts and passionate execution of all employees' responsibilities.  Leadership is reflected through culture. However, it is unrealistic to expect culture to become excellent and productive on its own.

Startup Culture for Success

When businesses are truly invested in their stakeholders, employees will participate in this culture. If there is no concern for employees, there can be no expectation of involvement. "Care" is a verb that expresses acts for the benefit of others. Remember that an organization's culture is its soul. Those who have authority over the soul also have a huge influence on the body or organization of the business as a whole. Taking all of these into account, consider the following two questions:

1. Do you have a clear concept of culture that brings people together and makes them stronger?

2. Who is in charge of and responsible for the culture?

Concentration or Focus:

Focus defines what an organization will do to win, how or when they will execute that strategy–and at what cost.  If the emphasis is clearly defined and maintained across the team, half the battle is already won. “Focus is everything," says Loralyn Mears, Ph.D., founder of STEERus and home of the world's first Soft Skills Academy. “You may miss a crucial market or prospective customer insight, you could miss an emerging team dynamic that has the potential to escalate into something unmanageable, or you could be giving your own business less than it deserves to make your vision a reality if you take your eye off the ball. Establish your vision and then concentrate on how to bring it to life.”

It’s the leader’s responsibility to keep a team's will and attention intact; regardless of the situation. Many businesses, regardless of size or industry, fail because they are focused on the goal rather than the implementation of the goal. Actual focus entails making smart use of all the resources available to reach the objective. A team that has a clear knowledge of a goal knows how much money it will need to achieve it. What matters most is what is delivered at the end of the day. Focus is the main point of attention that unites all participants in the execution process and determines the deliverables. Having explained all of these, there are three important questions to ponder:

1. What are the three most important things you should concentrate on?

2. What do you do now that something is no longer relevant or aligned?

3. What is the cost of this mismatch to you?

In summary, success requires a clear main goal, a productive business culture, and laser-like focus to accomplish your goals. The old-fashioned mindset of "success at any cost" is simply not effective in today’s reality. It would not entice business investors, outsourcing businesses, or professionals to join you. 

Ready to bring your startup to the next level? Apply to MassLight’s next batch. MassLight supplies capital and a dedicated tech team. We take equity in return. Have questions? Refer to our FAQ page.

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