A unicorn company is any startup company that eventually reaches the milestone of a $1 billion market value. Considering nine in 10 startup companies fail the first year, five in 10 within five years, and seven in 10 within 10 years, making any money at all is quite a feat. Reaching unicorn status is, therefore, indeed rare. Only one in 78 companies achieve this status. What is the secret of these companies‘ success?

1. They fill a need

You may think that your idea of “X” is the greatest thing ever. You fall in love with your idea. You make all your decisions based on forwarding that idea. If, however, no one wants an “X,” then all of your efforts will be for naught. Smart entrepreneurs study people’s preferences and then design items, services, or plans to fit those needs. Here is a simple illustration: A father likes crunchy peanut butter, but his children like creamy. His children will be happier if he gets the kind that he doesn’t personally like to accommodate the children’s preferences rather than his. Entrepreneurs must learn that it is never about their own preferences but always about others’.

2. They are flexible, able to learn and adapt, and not averse to help

What is popular this year may not be popular next year. In 1971, clothing companies made a bundle selling bell-bottomed pants. When fashion choices changed, the successful clothing companies changed with them: out with the bell bottoms and in with the leg warmers, for example. Even in business, pride goeth before destruction. Don’t be too proud to accept help in situations where you need it.

To be successful, you must also learn that it is all right to be wrong as long as you learn from it. It pays to study not only consumer preferences themselves but also long-term trends about how preferences change. Those aspiring to become unicorns learn to anticipate change and prepare for those changes ahead of time.

3. They listen to people who know

No one likes to be told what to do, least of all entrepreneurs with visions of lifelong fame and fortune. There are, however, many people in the world who are much smarter and more experienced than you. It will behoove you to listen to anyone with a track record of success, especially if that person’s success is in the same or similar field as that in which you wish to begin. Making widgets is a lot easier when you listen to and get advice from other successful widget makers beforehand. Once you get started, it will be wise for you to speak with knowledgeable people, too, about the mundane aspects of running your business. Day-to-day operations may not be sexy, but they are fundamental to your business’s success.

4. They are focused, committed, and motivated

The world is rife with “idea people.” These people come up with something fantastic and then do complete zip to realize their ideas. Others lose interest or think they can just “sit back and let the money roll in.” Running a business is a blood sport. It requires singularity of purpose. It requires dedication. Be ready to work 70 or 80 hours a week for next to nothing until you gain a foothold. When you “just can’t,” think up excuses to keep going. Laurel resting equals the demise of your business. Remember, half of businesses fail within five years. Your commitment will become the “secret of your success.”

5. They are vigilant against “the wrong people”

No matter how honorable you are, there will always be people out to get you. Often, these people will seem to want to help you. They will be ingratiating, possibly even obsequious. Rather than listen to their flattery and platitudes, as tempting as that is, you must learn how to recognize such blather and ignore it. These people are not your friends, and you should remove them from your life too. The other kind of “wrong people” are those who don’t know what they’re talking about. Someone may be just as honorable as you, but if that person is clueless, then that person cannot assist you in any meaningful way. You also have to learn to recognize reality from fantasy and correctness from wrongness.

6. They pay attention to quality

All the best plans in the world mean nothing if the product you sell or the service you provide is shoddy. People don’t like feeling hoodwinked or cheated. Think of the last time you felt you got ripped off. Did you want to go back and patronize that business again? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Don’t ever save pennies now only to lose dollars later. Never skimp on quality.

7. Their scope is global

Global Unicorn

Like it or not, the world is getting smaller. Companies are doing business overseas as often as they are next door. You cannot succeed if you don’t tap into the vast opportunities offered outside of the U.S. You must also inform yourself about the various customs of different countries. Things that would be acceptable, or even expected, in one country could be deathly insults in another and vice versa. An international business translator can assist you in knowing what you need to know regarding the country in question as well as translating between languages for you. The wisest entrepreneurs surround themselves with excellent partners of all kinds, not just an international business translator.

About inWhatLanguage

inWhatLanguage combines expert human translators and advanced translation management technology to help unicorns reach global markets. Learn more about inWhatLanguage and how they can help bridge language and cultural gaps by visiting www.inwhatlanguage.com