Startups - Mistakes & Big Decisions
Updated: Nov 28, 2020
"It’s a very thin dividing line between success and failure. I have come very close to the wrong side of that line and just managed to stay the right side of the line." — Richard Branson
To start a business is incredibly difficult, and to launch a startup company requires even more energy and time. Startup founders generally have a great idea and are eager to showcase it to the world, but what many of them do not have is the experience in the world of business. Unfortunately, a widely known fact and reality is that most startups fail due to the inability to overcome the inevitable obstacles they face – whether it is financing, building a team of employees with valid experience who are willing to take a huge pay cut, or managing the business itself.
As every founder has a different idea, it is hard to find one solution on how to ensure that your startup will continue to grow; but there are some very common pitfalls that you can avoid:
Desire to Raise Capital Immediately
“Stay self-funded as long as possible.” – Garrett Camp
A popular opinion amongst startup founders is that they need to raise a large sum of money as soon as possible. No matter how passionate you are about your product, how can you be so sure that the rest of the world will feel the same? Nothing is certain, despite how confident we feel. If you secure finance, build your business, and assume that it will be profitable - you may be setting up for failure. If customers want to pay for your product NOW and you can see that it is in high demand with proven popularity, investors will see the value in your business. The key is to EXPERIENCE the market demand for your product, not to seek finance and hope there will be a demand later.
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” - Reid Hoffman
Each individual has their own unique skill set so it is no surprise that not many startups succeed with one founder. Having more than one co-founder in a startup brings a broader skillset to the table. You may compensate for your co-founder’s weaknesses and vice versa. Perhaps you are comfortable bearing the responsibility of everything related to financing and managing costs, but lack creative skills to manage marketing activities which the co-founder is great at. The moral support, along with the diverse skills of two or more people will help to overcome the undeniable obstacles that startups face.
Delaying the Launch
“In my experience, it’s more important to start than to start right. Think about it. If you don’t start your business, nothing will happen.” – Neil Patel
If you ponder over your idea for a long time, continuously brainstorming what may or may not work, you may be using up valuable time creating something that might not take off. The time used here could be spent putting the idea out there to the world, and you will gain an insight into where there is room for improvement by the reaction and feedback.
"Never spend your money before you have it." - Thomas Jefferson
Spending too much money too soon is unlikely to lead you to where you want to be. Ensure that you are making enough money to cover large expenses to avoid ending up in debt. Budget for things that are actually important, and you will prepare your startup for achieving success. Research more affordable subscription tools, and forget the designer suits and fancy office space. Co-working spaces are great for networking and meeting like-minded individuals, and you may even win a client or two! Do not try to hire over-experienced staff who you will risk losing when a higher paid job comes along. Consider ambitious candidates that believe in your idea who will stay for the long-haul.
Not Enough Commitment
“The level of success you achieve will be in direct proportion to the depth of your commitment.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Starting a business requires perseverance, drive, passion, and a huge level of commitment. Making sacrifices is not optional; and in order to be successful, you should never lose focus and be willing to make several backup plans along the way. Don’t be afraid to take risks, learn from failures, and keep going.