We’ve all heard the statistics… “90% of new businesses will fail…”, “8 out of 10 new businesses will not make it past…”, and the list goes on. I’m not here to add to the doom and gloom. Instead, I’m here to give you some pointers on what you can do to ensure your start up business has a better chance of success. My name is Armen Mardirousi. I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been building businesses since I was in grade school. From selling lemonade and fruit picked from my backyard on the street to distributing flyers for the local video rental business (at the height of which, I supervised four neighborhood kids who did the leg work). In 1996, at the age of 18, I started ArmenM Computer Works – which was to later become Neolynx Group Inc. Since then, I have continued to embark on new ventures – some online businesses, others more “traditional” offline businesses. I can spend the next two days writing about these businesses… perhaps I’ll leave the juicy details for my memoirs. For this post, I’ll summarize the main points of what I’ve learned while building my several businesses, failing at a few, and helping dozens of individuals realize their business goals. For the most part, I’ll keep the discussion around the development aspect of the startup process, using one of our clients as the case study. For the purposes of this post, by development I am referring to the technical development (mainly, web development and mobile development) as well as business idea and business model development.
A few years back, I had the opportunity to meet two gentlemen from Australia who were looking to revolutionize the office food service industry in that country. They had conducted an extensive search throughout Australia for a development partner to help them realize their goals without breaking the bank. That search had come up short. Disappointed with their search results there, they turned their attention to companies half-way across the globe. Our conversations began via email and then moved on to Skype before my first in-person meeting here in Los Angeles with one of the managing partners.
I distinctly remember that first meeting. More specifically, I remember my genuine desire to learn why Clover3 was looking to build the system rather than trying to fit their site into some pre-built off-the-shelf system. The meeting took place at our then Glendale, CA based offices (located a few blocks south of our current offices). We spent time getting to know each other and each other’s businesses. A few weeks after that initial meeting, I had the opportunity to meet with another of the partners who was traveling to the US. This meeting was a bit different. I already had a sense of what Clover3 wanted to accomplish and Clover3 had a sense of how Neolynx approached new development projects. During this meeting, I felt as though the partner was sizing me up to see if we could in fact deliver what we promised. I had no problem with that since I knew that we could deliver what we’d pitched. That meeting must have also gone well, for we got the gig.
We’ve been working with Clover3 for several years now. When we first completed and launched the project, their service was available to a few select cities in Australia. Since then, we have worked with them to improve their system and roll out the service on a nationwide basis. We have been told on several occasions that our service and advice has been and continues to be of value to the core Clover3 business. We take pride in assisting Clover3 become a successful business and not another start up casualty. Here at Neolynx Group Inc., we look forward to a continued business relationship with Clover 3 Pty Ltd of Australia.
- Listen to learn the customers
- Be a trusted advisor, not just their web developer.
- Build a long-term relationship.
- Trust your intuition. There’s more to this game than just money.
- Your customers’ growth is a measure of your own growth.