three business people
Tom Clairmont

Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

Three Secrets to Startup Success

Increase Your Chances

Most startups fail after 5 years. Why? Mainly because of cash flow problems. There’s more going out, than coming in. And, usually, not keeping expenses in check was the culprit. But I wanted to go over how you can increase your chances for success for your business.

The Right Stuff

There’s a never ending supply of the things we ‘need’ or don’t need, but still purchase. But overall, putting the money part aside, there are certain ‘traits’ that people have, that have proven themselves over time, to be ingredients of the 3 S’s. The ‘Secret Sauce of Success’.

So in this article, I’ll be going over these three attributes of having ‘The Right Stuff’ for being an Entrepreneur.
What am I calling the ‘Big Three’?

1. Believing in yourself
2. Willing to get help
3. Not giving up

1. Believing in Yourself

It all starts with believing that you can and WILL succeed. Somehow, some way, at some point in time. Now, later, it doesn’t matter when.
What does success look like? Well, that’s a different subject for a different time. But overall, you’ll get to a point where, looking back, you’ll have a clear path of progress and either making money by helping solve a problem that people have, or significantly helping other people to succeed (if that’s the goal).
Because that’s what it’s all about, in my opinion. Making money or making an impact. Preferably both.

Start Acting Like A Leader

The hope is, that someday, you’ll have a business with others employed beyond yourself. But first, you’ll be leading yourself before you’ll be leading others.
Are you ready for this? Are you able to step up and lead yourself every day?
Show yourself that now that you have the day, the week, the month, to plan out, that you’re able to stay focused and on task to systematically plan and grow your business.

Be a leader to yourself.

Roll With The Punches

Even though you’ve worked through the business plan and you’ve got a lot of the details all worked out, you’ll probably find that you’re in for a regular surprise of the unexpected.

You can have all the strategies and formulas all laid out, but it’s inevitable that the way your Plan unfolds will be different than you originally expected.
And that’s ok. That’s normal. We can plan and strategize all day long.

But what’s also considered normal is that we’re flexible enough throughout all the unexpected to tweak the Plan and change the Plan, so that the end result is that the Plan still works even though some of the details didn’t.

2. Willing to Get Help

There’s a lot of pieces of the small business puzzle to put together in this high-tech world. And the Founder has a lot of hats to wear initially.
I don’t expect anyone to have all the skills they need in order to get all the pieces in place. Even Superman needed Clark Kent.
Get Some Help

So please don’t think that if you don’t know how to do something that you MUST learn it and figure it out on your own.
It’s ok to get some help. It’s very common. You might not hear about it all the time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.

Founders regularly hire temps, outsource work or get some coaching or consulting for a time. That’s just the way it is.

So don’t try to take on the Superman role and get all stressed out over the To-Do list.

Get some help.

Typically, you’ll need help for the following:
• Marketing
• Website
• Branding
• Finances
• Legal

The first for me, was Legal. I Incorporated my business at the very beginning to protect my personal finances.

Then, it was finances and I hired an Accountant.

Having a Solid Plan

Now, just because you have knowledge of the industry doesn’t mean you will be a success automatically. You also need a solid strategy.

How will you acquire users or customers? How will you make money? How will you deliver the product or service that people want?

Without a strategy, you are shooting in the dark and just working like a chicken with your head cut off. Gary Vaynerchuck describes this well in his article “First Comes Smarts, Then Comes the Hustle”. Without a proper strategy, hustle is aimless and ineffective. Get the strategy right and the execution is easy.

The point I’m trying to make?
Get some help.

3. Not Giving Up

I’ve been saying for awhile that not giving up is half the battle. You’ve already achieved 50% success by not giving up.
Because the day you give up, is the day that you lose. And you lose it all.

But be aware, that there will be many days where you’ll feel like giving up. For some reason, we’re geared toward negative thinking and we need to be told over and over again reminders of how to stay positive.

We need computer backgrounds with a slogan. Or something taped to the wall, right where you are sitting now.

We need something taped to the bathroom mirror. We need books and videos and some people will pay a lot of money to attend high ticked events to hear someone say things that they’ve probably heard before.


Stay On Track

Startups don’t have it easy contrary to what other people say. There’s risks to consider and being able to address those risks, early on, can help give your startup a smoother launch.

Remember, you spent a lot of time on that business plan, so look at it once in a while as a reminder of what you were originally planning to do so you’ll stay on track.

But hard work alone won’t see you through. You need the right team in place, at the right time.

For example, if you are trying to build a software product to solve the problem you’ve identified but don’t have anyone on your team that can build it, the expertise and strategy don’t mean anything. The nice thing about our world today is that there are so many people that have skills you can leverage to help with the execution. You don’t necessarily need to have everyone directly on your team.

So those are the three things I think you’ll need for startup success.

Are You The Next Entrepreneur?

Yes, there are a hundred other ‘things’ I’m sure you can think of to add to the list, but looking at it from a 30,000 foot perspective, I’ve come up with these three.

So what do you think about these three? Do you see yourself as an Entrepreneur?

Have you already made the jump yet or are you still thinking about it?

Did you try all this in the past and it didn’t work out, so you’re hesitant to try again?

Friends, I’ve been through both sides of the coin with my business. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs along the way over the past 20 years.

I’ve worked it part time and I’ve worked it full time. You do what you have to do, or whatever you can do based on the situation.
And part of not giving up, is being flexible. It’s not an ‘all or nothing’ game.

So remember the ‘Big Three’ things, as I like to call it, to increase your success in business:

1. Believing in yourself
2. Willing to get help
3. Not giving up

Friends, if I can do it, then so can you.

To your success, 


“One year of focus and hustle could set you up for life.”

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