25 Keys to a Startup’s & Founder’s Success

keys to startup success

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Today we’re discussing 25 keys to startup success because only 10% of startups succeed overall and that means 90% of startups fail. Moreover, 75% of venture-backed startups fail, and our goal at StartupDevKit is to empower everyone to be as successful as they can become. Therefore, knowing how to validate a startup idea (42% of startups fail because they make products nobody wants), knowing how to start a startup with a real process, and practicing the mindsets and behaviors that play into becoming a success are critical.

While failure is due to a variety of factors, which we cover in our Incubator and Accelerator Programs, we’re covering the intangible reasons why startups succeed and what success is built upon.

That’s because half of the battle in towards startup success comes from individual contributions which come from behaviors and mindset. That’s why this subject is so important.

This post is split into three sections:

    1. Section 1: Discover five keys to an individual’s success and why that matters in the overall context of startup success.
    2. Section 2: Learn 10 behaviors to enhance an individual founder’s ability to make a successful startup
    3. Section 3: Uncover 10 mindsets and philosophies for a founding team to abide by for peak performance

What is Startup Success?

Startup success is not just achieved by creating a product or service that fills a need from your target customer.

No, it’s not just about growth hacking either.

Nor is startup success is not achieved merely by getting funded from venture capitalists.

It’s not about how much money you raise.

Rather, startup success is having a long-term sustainable, cash-flow positive, and profitable startup which fills a need or solves a problem in the market AND has an amazing company culture that helps its people thrive.

If your company is making profit but you have a terrible culture with toxic people (especially in the management/C-level team), then your company, in our books, is not successful.

A company’s performance is directly correlated with the happiness and mental well-being of its employees.

But if you are making profit from customers who love the product or service so much that they will stay customers for years to come, and you have an awesome culture — well then you’ve made a great company!

That’s when you know your startup has been successful.

Founders are the tone-setters in a startup’s culture. It all comes from the top.

This is how we see startup success because if you solve a need but don’t have a good company culture, then your negative culture will be like a poison that infects and taints your company until it folds or there is a huge shift in its ethos.

What is startup success dependent on?

Having a successful startup is dependent on the team as a whole.

There’s a reason why venture capitalists base their investment decisions on a team’s capability and their track record just as much as they do on the startup’s product or service and its traction and the business model.

Venture capitalists recognize that teams comprised of people with previous successes in other startups are much more likely to succeed.

Those previous startup founders have showed they can perform.

Their ability to repeat that performance is what they’re betting on, and it makes them better candidates to receive funding from them.

But let’s get even more granular (specific) to get to the root of high performing teams and why they do so well.

High performing teams are made up of individuals. Yes, that’s right – each individual plays a big part in why a team will or won’t perform well.


The 5 Keys to Individual Success

In order for individuals to perform well within their startups, there are five keys to an individual’s success.

1) Have the skills to perform the work

2) Put in the work and do it efficiently. Time and energy management is crucial.

3) Have the right mindsets which includes a very positive attitude, mindfulness, adaptability, wisdom, courage, compassion, and more. I discuss the rest of the mindsets later in this post.

4) Communicate effectively with their teammates. Don’t procrastinate responding to teammates. Set specific times to respond to non-urgent emails. Have communication processes in place.

5) Maintain good mental health and physical health and/or improve your health.

Exercise is vital to help founders with stress relief (yoga is really helpful too too), perform with maximum productivity (it improves cognitive function), provides increased positivity (from the endorphins), and promotes a well-functioning body.

When you’re sitting all day at a desk, you need to be able to combat that inactivity with other physical activity and exercise at other points of the day.

What’s more, mental health is beyond important for founders to get a handle on and is a big problem for a lot of founders who keep it unchecked.

Getting enough sleep is incredibly important to having good health physically and mentally, as well.

Nutrition is equally important. We’re all affected by what we eat — good or bad.

Essentially, each person needs to have themselves together to form the nucleus of a high-performing team.

If one person in the team is not performing well, then the entire team suffers because someone has to either take up more slack or things just don’t get done that need to get done. They become the weakest link.

The team can either support that person by helping that person get better at whatever it is or do nothing and risk fracturing the team. Providing encouragement and showing belief in them will be very important.

You often hear about startup founders who are “crushing it.” Right?

However, while each person crushing it usually has a solid team by their side, their behaviors are the reason behind why they are experiencing startup success.

Some of the keys are from your behaviors, so that’s what we’ll go into next.

10 Behaviors and Actions to Enhance Individual Success and Therefore Startup Success

1) Wake up early in the morning to get a head start. The earlier you wake up, the more things you can get done.

2) Look inward to your habits to find what is stopping you from achieving a goal of yours

3) Consistency. Be consistent in your activities. This is true for every field of work.

4) Plan! Create scheduled planning sessions so you can plan your daily and weekly calendar out in advance.

5) Set goals and make steady progress to achieve them by reverse engineering what you have to do to get to your goal(s).

6) Be laser-focused on the most important tasks to be productive. Do one thing at a time and stay completely focused on it. (multi-tasking kills time management)

7) Always keep learning. Schedule time each day to learn and implement what you’ve learned.

8) Exercise daily and get enough sleep so that you can be healthy and energetic without letting your body waste away from working at your desk all day. Sitting all day is a recipe for disaster.

9) Hold yourself accountable and responsible for your successes and failures and actively reflect on how to do better.

10) Strive to do your best at everything you do. You don’t have to be perfect but we all have to do quality work.

Startups are a grind, and they’re very difficult.

They will test your resolve.

So mentally, you have to take on several mindsets and philosophies to get yourself through the struggles to come out on top.

Speaking of the startup mindset, you might also appreciate this post with 115 Enlightening Startup Quotes from Successful Founders, as the advice of these unicorn startup founders will positively contribute to your views on startups and your overall mindset.

How Behavioral Modifications Increase Startup Success Rates

While mindset is important to establish a foundation from which behaviors are rooted, thinking doesn’t make things happen. Behaviors do.

It’s how you take action.

So for a brief exercise, take a moment to think about what the most important things are that you need to do both in your life and in your startup and write them down.

Then think about what you do in both your daily life and in the building or growing of your startup and write them down.

Are you wasting time on unnecessary things or are you executing the most necessary tasks?

Are you doing things out of order?

Can you improve on your behaviors?

Probably yes. Right?  Don’t feel bad.  Most of us can improve in some way.

Just do your best to become your best self and you will become happier with your work and life overall.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t have every single part of my behaviors under control. But I know what I need to improve upon and I’m actively working on them and improving my behaviors.

However, I have the resolve to win in my own life, and that means helping you win in your life through StartupDevKit, too. 🙂

Therefore, as the last part of this post, you’ll discover these mindsets and philosophies and see what it takes to be a top-performer in your startup.

11 Mindsets and Philosophies for Startup Success

1) Passion is essential to withstand the difficulties of startup life and to continue to joyfully press on. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing and don’t have a purpose (getting rich isn’t a purpose) then you shouldn’t really be a founder.

2) Courage to push through the things that make you uncomfortable.

3) Motivation to change and maximize your behaviors.

4) Resilience to withstand the naysayers, the no’s you’ll receive, and the challenges you’ll have to overcome. Have that determination and resilience to keep trucking through during the difficulties and improve yourself and your startup on a daily basis. Obstacles will inevitably occur. They’re not bad omens. They’re facts of life. Accept them and maintain your determination to win over your challenges!

5) Resourcefulness to find out ways to make things work. This could even be asking someone for help if the situation calls for it.

6) Positivity with the belief that things will work out in the end with hard work and the right intent.

7) Mindfulness to support yourself and be aware of how you’re thinking and behaving. Remember your end-goal(s).

8) Focus to get the most important things done.

9) Be open-minded and not egotistical because having an open mind about new ideas is crucial to being a great team player and a great leader.

10) Value Creation. You have to remember that startups are about adding value in people’s lives. That’s why we create solutions which solve problems that people are experiencing. You must be doing your startup for the right reasons. Not fame or wealth, but for value creation. As you continually add value in people’s lives, things will progress for your startup and your life.


11) Never Be Complacent. The moment you become complacent in your situation is the moment your personal progress goes to a full-stop.


High performing teams are made of individuals so for each team to reach their peak, then each individual must be at their best.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re actively working to grow your startup. These 25 keys apply to every phase in startups and all areas in life.

Ultimately, success starts in our minds and in our actions. We can be the protagonists in our own lives rather than expecting other people to get us where we want to be.

These behaviors and mindsets are the keys to you and your startup’s success.

Are you more informed about startup success now?  Are there other keys to startup success that you have found? Let us know in the comments below!


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  • 4 Responses

    1. Very informative blog! I hope that people who are planning to start a business will keep these 25 keys to startup success in mind. Following the above tips will surely help you reach the success that have always envisioned and you deserve. Thank you for sharing!

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