Quite often, the actions you take early on after launching your startup will have a direct impact on its success and longevity. Yes, you can always implement changes later on, and you never know what the market might bring. However, those early foundations stemming from your own characteristics and mindset could have a bigger impact than you might realize.
This became especially clear for me during a recent interview with Alexy Goldstein, founder and CEO of New U Life. From taking over his family’s business at the age of 18 to developing his own products, Goldstein has experienced a wide swath of entrepreneurial experiences.
However, by focusing on key foundational principles, he has managed to consistently achieve success. Here are some noteworthy foundational habits that you’ll want to follow with your own business:
1. Find Your Why
“Having a greater purpose behind your business is essential if you want to make a lasting impact in your market,” Goldstein explains. “With my company, our goal is to help people support whole body health without going to extreme lengths like surgery to feel younger again. Better health is possible in safer and less invasive ways, and that gives people confidence and self-esteem. Obviously, that reasoning is very specific to our niche, but any startup can find similar ‘big picture’ reasons to give proper motivation to everything they do.”
Goldstein isn’t alone in having developed a sense of purpose for his business. Many business leaders are recognizing the power of a sense of purpose, not just in their own work, but in motivating the work of their employees.
In fact, research from the Harvard Business Review found that over 90 percent of employees would be willing to take less pay for a job that they found more meaningful. This was especially true among younger generations. Having a well-defined purpose that others can relate to will help you attract like-minded talent to grow your company.
2. Develop a True Passion for Your Niche
A sense of purpose is one thing, but Goldstein also brings a genuine passion for his niche of healthcare-oriented products. “When I ran my family’s retail store, I started to study the products we were selling. This led me to wonder if I could develop products at a higher standard that met different health needs. It led me to study to become a homeopathic doctor. That initial kernel of interest ultimately directed everything I did. My company is a direct outcome from that.”
Goldstein’s company grew from a passion that developed over years. This trait is considered a must-have for any entrepreneur. Writing for Youpreneur, travel coach Sahara De Vore explains, “Despite paving a path in a new niche, leading with my passion has enabled me to establish my vision, mission, messaging, content, mindset, and energy which has attracted clients and partners that best relate to me. Passion allows me to confidently explain what I do and why it is needed and it helps me in the times when I am feeling the most stuck.”
Genuine passion for your niche creates an energy that cannot be imitated or replicated. It gives you the drive to take on even the toughest of obstacles as you find new solutions to make your brand a success. It ensures that you will keep trying and working toward your goals, because you truly love what you do.
Consider your own areas of interest. What are the things you love to do in your free time? That you stay up late to study? These are great starting points for business ideas that will drive you.
3. Find (and Focus) On Underserved Markets
Chances are, you’ll be far from the only startup entering your niche. Attempting to focus on the same audience as your competitors will leave you with a smaller piece of the pie, and make it harder to become profitable.
For Goldstein, success has come by focusing on markets that others have neglected or ignored entirely. “We’ve found a lot of growth by focusing on international markets. Domestic brands so often overlook international markets, yet the people in these countries often have similar needs and interests to consumers in the U.S. Even domestically, there are many subgroups that tend to get overlooked by broad marketing campaigns. When you take the time to focus on an underserved group, that audience takes note. They latch on to your brand because you’ve shown a willingness to speak directly to them and their needs.”
The internet has made it easier than ever before to reach such underserved groups. For example, while the United States is home to 140 million Instagram users, it is closely followed by India, with 120 million users. Brazil boasts 95 million users, while Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Russia and Indonesia are each home to over 30 million users. Marketing possibilities are more readily available than you might expect.
Obviously, to attain success with your startup, you need to develop your marketing skills, hire a team that can help you get to the next level and fine-tune your products and services to better meet the needs of your customers.
But so much of your success is ultimately dependent on the foundational principles you embrace from the outset of your entrepreneurial career. As you make these areas a central focus in developing your startup, you’ll be far better equipped to achieve your business goals.