What exactly is required for a startup to be successful at its early age? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Stephen Deng, Co-Founder of DFS Lab, on Quora:

For a startup to be successful at its early age, I can only answer this question with some bias given what we've seen works in our markets.

  • You have to have a compelling product or service that a specific segment of people want to use. They can want to use it for several reasons (e.g. they're underserved, the current product sucks, the current product is too expensive, etc.), but that value has to be gripping enough they're willing to try something new and stick with it.
  • Finding that value proposition is hard - so you'll need a team that is really good at listening to customers and reacting to what they want. That kind of testing requires strong execution if it's to be efficient. You'll need a CEO who can take all those customer signals and piece together a vision for a future that everyone (internally and externally) buys into.
  • Finding that value proposition also means making mistakes, so minimizing the time you spend on chasing those mistakes matter. Mentorship from a network of friends, advisors, investors, etc. can make a world of difference here.
  • You'll then need to explain that journey and tell investors what you've learned and why you think you have something that people will use. You'll need to help us understand why it's defensible from the current options people have and how you'll expand that user base far beyond the segment you started with.

The above is obviously simplified and generalized, but that type of customer-centricity combined with a strong vision is key.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter and Facebook. More questions:

Published on: Aug 22, 2019