Accenture research has identified eight critical factors that startups must get right early in their lifecycles and must manage effectively to be successful. That old management adage “Stay focused on two or three things you do well” probably still works for a large, developed organization. But it is too simplistic for a startup. The start up CEO must be vigilant about keeping the entire constellation of these factors in focus. A new venture is extremely vulnerable; failure to rigorously apply even one of these factors could be fatal.
This is easier said than done, of course. The startup begins life with two disadvantages: small size and limited resources. Under these circumstances, the complexity and uncertainty associated with the effective management of these success factors is much greater than for a large organization, which typically has a deep bench of management talent, established control systems, and highly structured work processes and organizational infrastructure.
New venture CEOs should manage within a framework that has three dimensions: strategic relationships, leadership and talent, and core business processes. Each dimension captures a different set of success factors. This framework is useful for anticipating and solving problems, reducing risk and setting new priorities.