Five Cs of Business Startup Success


  • Author K. Mackillop
  • Published June 2, 2010
  • Word count 566

Most people are familiar with the 4 Cs of diamond quality, but are you familiar with the five Cs of business startup success? Keep these five things in mind while starting a business.

  1. Courage -- Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid to fail, not afraid to learn new things, and not afraid to change direction. Courage is critical every step of the way, because startups don't leave time for indecision or fear. Successful entrepreneurs require the courage to do what needs to be done, even if some discomfort or risk is necessary.

  2. Confidence -- Often, the courage found in entrepreneurs is driven by confidence. The belief that one is better, faster, and stronger than all the others is very motivating and makes it easier to deal with setbacks and frustrations. Confidence allows an entrepreneur to quickly become comfortable with new information and new circumstances, and is an important factor in effective marketing. Confidence allows entrepreneurs to be creative in dealing with problems and to avoid becoming discouraged during the darker times inevitable in any startup.

  3. Commitment -- Business success doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen for free. Entrepreneurship requires significant commitment of time, money, and energy to even get off the ground. It takes time, money, and energy to learn everything you need to know about your industry, market, and business fundamentals. It takes time, money and energy to reach the critical mass of potential customers to drive sales. A true commitment to succeed provides motivation and a true commitment to starting up the right way increases the chances of success. Commitment to a startup is absolutely necessary -- without commitment, a great business idea will remain just that -- an idea.

  4. Cash -- No legitimate business can be launched on zero dollars. While there are free resources available (advice, web-hosting, informational sites), you almost always get what you pay for -- nothing for nothing. A serious entrepreneur needs to purchase tools and resources for planning and management, marketing elements, and production. They need enough cash to live on during the Pit of Despair (the time between launch and actual sales can be weeks to months depending on the business model, even longer to reach profitability). Even if an investor is ready and willing to back a startup, the entrepreneur needs to put up their own resources to complete the planning process before accessing the outside funding. No savvy investor is going to write a check without evidence of the viability of the business. "Free startups" are unrealistic and, really, ridiculous. Considering that starting a business is likely the most important life decision most people will make, it is absurd to expect success to come for free.

  5. Character -- The image and culture of a startup is wholly encompassed within the owner, and any lack of character will quickly be revealed in the course of business. Honesty and integrity are critical -- the consumer public has had enough of corporate thievery and greed. And, with the current recession unleashing a virtual assault on working Americans, employees are likely to be far less tolerant of unfair practices and unreasonable expectations at work. Good character is not optional!

The quality of a diamond is defined by the 4 Cs. The Five Cs of startup success -- courage, confidence, commitment, cash, and character -- will determine the quality of your business.

K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur with a J.D. from Duke University, is founder of LaunchX and authors a blog about starting a business. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs incorporate the five Cs of business success into their business plan and operations. It includes step-by-step startup instructions, software and management tools.

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