Over 5 million businesses in the U.S. were started in 2022, some of them are the best successes and others were the fastest failures. Undoubtedly, some of them needed the help of a business plan consultant to fastrack their dreams to reality; some merely needed a winning idea and enough funding to get the business through the first few years. Which ones were out-of-the-gate successful and which ones flopped? Let’s take a look at why almost 90% of all startups failed in 2022 and why some, like Cushion AI, took a common problem of bill-paying and created a smart, easily-doable solution that made a raging success out of their first year in business.
So, what’s the common denominator between businesses that survive and even thrive in the first year? What elements do they possibly share that could lead to a successful startup experience? Let’s examine a few businesses in the search for common patterns or threads. First, the comments of Cushion AI Founder and CEO, Paul Kesserwani, indicate the key element of his business: he and his business team are obsessed with providing customers with what they want: improved financial health and innovation to accompany it. There are strategic takeaways in this single comment.
In another winning startup, FirstCard, a debit card for college students, provided a solution to students who struggled with the problem of tracking finances and staying out of debt. With a 15% cashback on purchases policy and a host of additional features to ensure students pay bills on time, FirstCard secured 3M in pre-seed funding before the startup launched. Clearly, another targeted problem and a dedicated solution. The prioritization of their customers’ needs is evident in every part of this winning offer to college students.
A third example of a 2022 success is Ribbon, a real estate company dedicated to solving the problems faced by home buyers in competition with real estate moguls who flip homes. The flipping process raises the prices so home buyers cannot compete; Ribbon started by addressing that problem and created the solutions needed to successfully launch hundreds of home buyers, some of the first time.
Did you find the common denominators for these successful startups? Yes, they all recognized a serious problem and created perfectly-positioned solutions to meet that problem. This is a proven concept, but one is always applicable.
Now, what about those startups that were fast failures in 2022? First, Kite, a startup featuring an AI coding assistant, raised millions during pre-seed funding rounds, but failed due to product-market-fit issues. The comment from company owners was that the technology was 10 years too early for the market.
The next startup failure in 2022 of note was that of FTX, founded by Sam Bankman-Fried. While notably popular and once the third-largest crypto-currency exchange, the sideline deals by executives within the firm led to a large, fast decline in value, with criminal charges raised at the ugly end. In this case, the business didn’t actually fail; the executives who ran it did.
Finally, let’s take a look at Bolt Motility, featuring scooters and e-bikes for rent. Co-owned by Usain Bolt, the startup had a strong start, with excellent pre-seed funding, but everything went sideways, including unpaid staff members, with the identification of mismanagement of funds and a lender who backed out of a deal at the last moment.
Coming to general conclusions from the experiences of the startups that succeeded in 2022 is an easy task: the startups that prioritized customer needs and wants over everything else had the most loyal customer brand and startup strategies to match. The winning startup successes were those that focused on solving the problems of their consumer base; it was that simple.
The startups that failed in 2022 were those that lost sight of product-market-mix, lost credibility in misuse of funds or worse, and lost companies because, overall, they made serious mistakes or poor choices leading to failure. If each of these companies had the services of a business plan consultant nearby to offer expertise in structuring and operating a business, the results could have been different; either by increasing the successful year into an exponentially-successful year, or by saving businesses and business owners from failing to make the best or right choices for their businesses. If you are launching a startup in 2023, consider using a business plan consultant as an advisor who will maximize every penny of funding and treat strategic errors or blunders as the temporary mistakes they are, while continuing with your company on the road to startup success.