To err is human, and entrepreneurs are no different. Right? Launching a startup is not as easy as it seems. There are a multitude of things to think of and decisions to make; the constant pressure of taking your business off the ground can lead to poor decision making that not only gives you a setback but also impedes your chances of accomplishing the success. You would be astonished to know that only 50% of businesses endure their fifth year in business and just 30% of businesses survive till the tenth year.
Luckily, you can avoid the common mistakes committed by entrepreneurs that lead into the trap of misfortune of failure. Albeit there isn’t a fool-proof plan that can guarantee you success but in this insightful and comprehensive article, I’ve listed down some common deadly startup mistakes that you must avoid at all costs. With no more delay, let’s get started.
#1 Lack of Vision or Purpose
Having no clear vision or purpose could be fatal for any startup founder since it will lead you nowhere. It is generally seen that many entrepreneurs dive straight into bringing their shiny idea to life without pondering over what they’re doing, why they’re doing, or what change they will bring in the world. With no clear purpose, startups can never gain the momentum they need to build a solid foundation in the market. Furthermore, when things get tough, your team won’t have enough enthusiasm left to pull you through. Ergo, it makes sense to have a clear purpose before you dive into the development phase since it will not only add real meaning but also encourage your team to rally around in tough times (which will come inevitably). Also, it will provide your business real depth since it has a solid reason for existence and people find worth spending their time, efforts, and energy in shaping and articulating your shiny idea. Let’s quickly understand this thing using an example:-
“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company” – this is the vision and mission of Amazon, the giant eCommerce marketplace in the world.
When you come up with a powerful vision like this, you not only inspire action but also establish a connection (emotion) with your customers so that they can feel the gravity and come back over and over again, most importantly, they become your brand advocates and tell their friends, family or acquaintances about your brand. Always keep in mind that if your customers believe in your vision, they are more likely to connect with your brand and give your business (startups) a better chance of accomplishing success.
#2 Lack of Focus
Another common mistake committed by most of the entrepreneurs is trying to do too many things and that too soon. Ergo, it is strongly recommended to have a clear focus so that you don’t get diverted from your path. It is important to note that if you try to appeal to every customer by adding a myriad of features of functionalities to your product, you won’t only dilute the message but also end up with a confusing and complex bloated product. It’s wise to take cues from the success stories of Whatsapp, Netflix, Facebook Messenger, Dropbox, and PUBG, etc. and do one thing at a time. As a founder, it’s challenging for you to religiously adopt this approach since you have pressure from investors, management members, and customers but learning to say ‘NO’ to multiple things at a time will surely help you come up with a product that your customers love to use.
#3 Chasing Angel Investors, Not Customers
Even if you have an awesome idea in mind, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get funding from angel investors with ease. The best way to ensure the success of your startups is to focus on your business model that will allow the product to pay for itself. In many cases, entrepreneurs pay more attention to crafting a pitch to allure investors rather than building a robust business model. Instead what you should do is look for customers that will pay for your product. Then find some more customers, and repeat the process. This way investment will come to you with fewer efforts. When you’re looking for funding for your startups, you should focus more on describing the vision of your product and less on the hypothetical numbers. As a true entrepreneur, you should always be concerned about the things that are in your hands like building an extra-ordinary product that solves the problems of your customers than things that are not in your hands like chasing investors, VCs, etc.
#4 Not Seeking Help From Others
It’s good to be confident but many entrepreneurs out there have a perception that they know everything and are hesitant to seek help from others no matter whatever the situation is. To be honest, there is no harm in seeking help from experts or delegating the tasks demanding particular skills that you don’t possess. There is no dearth of experienced professionals out there who are ready to assist you and overcome the challenges that you are coping with. Also, it makes sense to onboard experts to avert yourself from the deadly mistakes committed by the entrepreneurs who have tread before you in the same path. By accepting the fact that you are not a jack of all trades and asking for help when needed, you can move you in the right direction. The more you discuss your challenges with others, the better you have chances of succeeding in your startup venture. Do some research work in finding a good mentor who shares a similar vision and wants to see you accomplishing success in your business. Having the right mentor at your disposal will always be a win-win situation for you.
#5 Hiring Badly
Startups that get funding from the investors in the early stage often commit the mistake of hiring employees too soon. This drains their budget before it is anticipated. You won’t believe every year hundreds of startups fail because of hiring employees badly or onboarding your friends who lack the desired skills for the particular job role. Ergo, it’s wise to hire employees smartly. For instance, why go for hiring full-time employees, when hiring a VA or part-time employees make more sense. As a startup, you should always consider hiring employees on a contractual basis or part-timers as per the requirements. Apart from this, it is suggested to keep everything well-documented. This will protect you and your company (startup) from being sued by an ex-employee against any false charges that were sealed with a handshake.
#6 Misunderstanding the Market
When you launch any product or service in the market, you are supposed to have sound expertise in the same. However, the mistake that is committed by many entrepreneurs is that they have rich knowledge of the industry they are working in but they fail to understand the market. Always remember that poorly gauging the demand for your product or appealing to the wrong target audience can fold your business before it begins.
#7 Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
This is one of the common mistakes committed by entrepreneurs of almost every industry vertical. As an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be afraid of failing and keep this popular adage in mind -‘Failure is the key to success’. Overcome your fears by facing them and learn from your past mistakes, that’s the only mantra of success.
#8 Failing to Measure the Profits
Many startup founders onboard a seasoned team of sales and marketing that manages to sell your products or services than you have anticipated but if you fail to measure the profits or find the wide gap between sales and profits, your business would collapse soon. Ergo, it is strongly recommended by experts to keep a tab on your sales and profits by seeking help from an accountant. This will help you stay afloat in the market.
#9 Lack Of Capital
Another common reason for the failure of startups is the lack of capital. Before you launch your startup, it’s wise to have a decent amount of money in place rather than relying on seed funding by the angel investors. You must be well-prepared for every challenge that lies in the path of your success and should be proactive to invest the money if required.
#10 Be Organized
If you want to be successful in your startup, you should stay organized from the first day itself. As a startup founder, you may have a lot of things on your plate and you can execute them successfully with a good practice of management. The best way to let things go uninterrupted is to set priorities for all the tasks, mark to-do lists, don’t underestimate the deadlines, and delegate the work to your personnel as per their abilities not as per your expectations.
Over To You
Running a startup is a nerve-wracking task. It requires undeterred enthusiasm, a lot of persistence, and steadiness. The most vital thing you need to keep in mind is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep this insightful post as a checklist and don’t commit the deadly mistakes discussed in the insightful. Another important thing that you need to remember is that