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Guiding Trend 10 April Apr 2020 0658 10 April 2020

Seven tips for startup success

From how to manage financing to the choice of partners, the definitive guide to doing business (and making it last)

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There’s more to a startup than meets the eye and we often forget that digital appeal alone is not enough to be an economic success. It takes ideas, content and work. The figures presented in the latest Viking analysis of the Companies Register show that out of over 10,000 Italian startups, just 4,000 declare annual assets of between 5,000 and 10,000 euro. Only one company earns more than 5 million, while 18 make between 2.5 and 5 million. How can you get on track to achieve such figures? Here is the definitive guide.

1 – manage the financing: from the initial fundraising to second rounds, a startup needs capital to keep moving ahead. However, raising funds should always be the means and not the end. It’s important that raising money is leveraged as a tool to support growth, to increase value and profitability and not to offset the costs of an ineffective business model.

2 – girl power: as in every sector of society, women quite rightly also claim their place in the startup market. Two Italian women appear on the 2019 Eu-Startups.com top 50 list of Europe’s most influential women in the startup/Venture Capital world: Paola Bonomo and Fausta Pavesio. Female CEOs currently lead 1,221 italian startups, representing 12.3% of the Italian total and predominantly in the communications and media sectors.

3 – teen nerds: it’s a common belief that behind every successful startup lies a team of nerds just out of their teens. In actual fact, while the average age of an entrepreneur is around 40, a study by First Round has revealed that when the average age of team members is around 25, the results they achieve are 30% better compared to the average investment. This is even more often the case if, for example, they have freshly graduated from one of America’s top colleges - which would increase the chances of success by 220%.

4- stroke of genius and work: racing ahead like a unicorn to the highest ranks of the global market is not for everyone. It takes a huge amount of work. As those who have managed it continue to remind us: Shane Snow, CCO of Contently recommends that “whatever you are doing, ask yourself how you can make it 10 times better and 10 times bigger”; Gina Trapani, founder of Lifehacker, suggests we never stop asking ourselves “what can I accomplish in my business by the end of today”; or take the story of Wordpress which took 3 years to develop from coding to software, unhurriedly establishing itself on an already crowded market.

5 – technology: in a successful startup, a good deal of innovation will necessarily be centred on technology. The tools are out there and you need to know how to use them, or rather, how to combine them. That’s what happened at Italy in Box which transformed the travel gift box market into a 3D experience. In a nutshell, with Italy in Box you first immerse yourself in a pre-experience of the place and accommodation you want to visit, and then you book it.

6 – specialisation: in addition to an idea that works (if only in material terms), to stand out in the startup world you need an idea that is unique in its field. Starting with the level of service and the interface, moving on to communication channels and payment methods, without forgetting the product itself: it’s the details that make the difference - and create a company’s identity. In the food delivery sector, Winelivery has carved out a space on the Italian market thanks to the product (wine), the delivery terms (in less than 30 minutes and at the right temperature) and an endless supply of expertise and recommendations.

7 – partners: in addition to its team, a startup is supported by the age-old Italian adage which goes ‘plain speaking breeds long friendship’ (at least until the exit point). In addition to agreeing on growth targets, it is important for a group of partners to share out tasks and tackle them proactively. When it is time to hire or expand the company, any new entry should be assessed and tried out. Leading a project is a weighty task, so being clear, open and succinct helps you stay a cut above the rest.

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