3 Stages to Startup Success – Even During a Pandemic

Published on December 30, 2020

We are living in an era where entrepreneurship is taking over the world and everybody dreams of creating the next big thing. There is no shortage of big ideas out there, especially from Millennials and Gen-Z-ers, who have grown up capitalizing on technology that is evolving in the blink of an eye.

COVID-19 has set the steer for 2020 and due to the high unemployment numbers and uncertainty of what the future brings there is no shortage of people in dire need of one of those big ideas. We are all enduring unprecedented coercive climate circumstances that have forced countless businesses to close their doors and find alternative, creative solutions to make money.

Early-stage entrepreneurs searching for the best way to transform their big idea into big returns are a dime a dozen. From attending startup weekend seminars to registering for online masterclasses, wannabe entrepreneurs are forced to navigate a galaxy of how-to information that’s vast, varied, and daunting, to say the least. Now, pile on abysmal business survival rates and innumerable failure factors; let’s face it, weathering the startup storm and turning your big idea into a viable and lucrative one, is no small feat. 

“There needs to be a sweet spot between the brand and your community.” – Danny Cortenraede

As a successful global venture builder, I have learned there needs to be a sweet spot between the brand and your community, so I have  developed a three-stage approach to launching and growing powerful, sustainable startups. Through this method, I identify and address key indicators which need to be clearly defined and carefully evaluated before and during the business development trajectory. Any decent investor will be closely analyzing these indicators, as well as the steps taken to achieve the desired metrics which qualify a startup to be ripe and ready to realize exponential growth. 

Stage One: Discover

Perform your due diligence by interviewing as many people as possible to determine if you have identified a business problem that’s worth solving. Failing to identify the external factors that continue to drive the customer’s needs over time is a massive and common mistake of most early-stage entrepreneurs. In this stage, proactively eliminate the threats to increase your chance of success.

Stage Two: Validate

Flip your big idea on its head. Although a global pandemic is not a common thing, there is an endless list of other possible and potential external circumstances that cause customers to stop buying. Most startups learn lessons the hard way by skipping the homework of vetting their competition, understanding current market saturation, and failing to identify product-market dependencies proactively. Business model creation, distribution channel establishment, and sales and marketing strategies should be developed in this stage, and not before.

Stage 3: Execute and Scale

Strategy execution and revenue-building become a well-oiled machine in this stage. Leverage your network and influential relationships. Compare go-to-market strategies that fit your target marketplace with serial entrepreneurs who have lived through the loopholes of venture building — there is  no need to reinvent the wheel. Establish clearly defined growth metrics needed to gain traction and market share. Scaling the organization and its operations may well require taking some intelligent risks but avoid the pitfall of over-vacillating on your business model during customer data and feedback collection. Once product viability has been validated through consistent traction, focus can be shifted to maximize efficiencies and optimize marketing strategies in order to properly scale and expand.

Regardless of where your start-up falls in these three stages of business development, resist the temptation to cut corners and jump ahead. Each stage in the startup lifecycle is necessary and integral to building a business that’s successful and sustainable. Learn more tips about how to launch and grow your startup.

Danny Cortenraede is a contributor to Grit Daily and the CEO of InStudio Ventures, a venture studio, that invests in the future of the sports, real estate, and tech industries. Cortenraede is a global serial entrepreneur & investor with a proven track record of building several successful companies and brands around the globe, including  Wannahaves/ 433, a multi million dollar agency.  He regularly works with brands like Nike, Adidas, and Heineken for 433 which is the biggest sports community in the world with 55 million followers and more than 5 billion views per month.

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