How to launch a start-up: five steps to success


How to launch a start-up: five steps to success


How do you launch a start-up and ensure its success?

Who hasn’t heard a word and had a hard time drawing an accurate and complete picture of its true meaning at least once in their life? This likely happens precisely with the term “start-up”, often surrounded by a sort of nebulous aura of confusion.

If you’re also looking to eliminate any doubts and find out the best way to launch a start-up and make it successful, then you’re in the right place (nay, blog!).

What is a start-up?

Let’s begin with the basics and clarify the definition of a start-up right away.

As our trusty (and beloved) Treccani dictionary suggests, start-up refers to the period of launching a new company. So far it’s simple and, if you will, rather straightforward. Yet when we talk about start-ups, we can’t only refer to the initial stage of any enterprise, but also to an innovative organisation with specific characteristics and, above all, with a very specific goal: to grow exponentially in the shortest possible time. In short, to go from 0 to 100 extremely quickly. It is this second nuance of the term start-up that is most prevalent in the collective imagination, and thus the one we will focus on.


What characteristics should a start-up have?

As already mentioned, a start-up has the ambition of growing a great deal, and very quickly, into a large enterprise.

Thus this status is over all temporary: in a nutshell, a start-up “is not forever”, but if the process goes according to plan, it is bound to take off and turn into a company in the more traditional sense of the word. In the worst-case scenario, however, the start-up fails to get off the ground and finds itself among the 90% of those that fail.

But let’s focus on the glass half full and try to understand the other key elements that emerge when going to launch a start-up and that, at least in theory, allow it to achieve success and not end up in that unfortunate 90%.

Along with the temporary nature mentioned above, any “self-respecting” start-up has three other indispensable characteristics:

  • Scalability: ability to implement so-called economies of scale. This involves rapidly and massively expanding from a relatively small amount of initial resources to reach a decent number of people in the shortest possible time. In essence, it’s the ability to functionally and efficiently move from small to large scale.
  • Replicability: the ability to transport the start-up’s business model to various markets, including foreign ones, without the contribution of special and profound changes. It is therefore of paramount importance to pay proper attention to this aspect, which is so deeply connected to a subsequent (and ideal) internationalisation, when seeking to launch a start-up.
  • Innovation: this is the characteristic that we all most likely instinctively connect to the word “start-up”. Indeed, innovation is the most authentic intrinsic side of start-ups, which are created precisely to satisfy needs that have not yet been met and thereby revolutionise a market.

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The five basic steps

Having ascertained that the above are necessary characteristics, what is the best way to launch a start-up, make it successful and thereby turn it into an established and widely recognised enterprise?

  1. A start-up mindset that is oriented to the future, ambitious and prepared for any kind of mistake, is a solid foundation to build from. Clearly, a great deal depends on the approach of the start-up founder him or herself, the start-upper. He or she must be attentive and thorough, and above all have great mental elasticity and be able to creatively adapt to any situation, like a chameleon. This is an indispensable combination that is not easy to achieve but makes all the difference, especially in relation to the unstable VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world in which we live;
  2. A good Business Plan is a small, always-necessary beacon, especially in the most uncertain and dark times. Indeed, it is essential to outline the start-up’s path, even if initially in a rough draft. This will provide an overview of the start-up and all its various facets (business description, market strategies, competitor analysis, management plan, team, and so on);
  3. Evaluating and testing the idea with one (or more) Smoke Tests is an entirely sensible and, looking toward the future, beneficial move. In fact, before getting everything off the ground, it is a good idea to make sure that the idea is for all intents and purposes innovative, revolutionary, and very appealing to future customers. If this does not reflect reality, then there is still some work to be done to prevent a disastrous flop.
  4. Being almost obsessed with the customer should not be the exception, but the rule. Obviously, it’s important to believe firsthand in the validity of the service or product you offer, but you cannot isolate yourself in a bubble of complacency. You have to listen to the feedback of those who are actually going to take advantage of what you offer and, of course, treasure it. Only in doing so will the end result be in all respects innovative and revolutionary, perfect for meeting the latent or manifest needs of the very dear end consumers.
  5. Relying on the right people is a given, but is never trivial. Be it the legal evaluations, funders, co-founders, or the team, how can you expect to achieve your goals if you’re not dealing with serious and reliable professionals? This aspect should not be in any way overlooked, especially when it comes to your team: choosing figures with whom you feel connected and on the same wavelength is doubtlessly that extra something that lets you make a truly outstanding recipe.


characteristics startup creative ai

These factors are key to launching a successful start-up and could perhaps be summarised as follows: a great idea, a good team, a detailed plan of attack, big ambitions, and… a big dose of courage!


All this, combined with a lot of expertise and passion, is what you can find in Creative-AI, the sister start-up of Creative Words that provides companies with data services for developing innovative artificial intelligence solutions and projects.

If you’re curious to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us!


foto lara panicucci


Lara Panicucci (Marketing team Intern at Creative Words)

Translator (and, ideally, bookseller) wannabe, she dreams a life between pages and words. Some would say, and probably already did, that she is like as an “autumn evening” (“Doctor Zhivago”). Note that she is also a world champion of dunking biscuits into hot tea. 

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