Heading a startup is a risky endeavor. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a startup that many individuals, even the business owners themselves, don’t see. These pitfalls rest at every corner and can make a startup implode.
There was recently an article published in Forbes where founders of a few successful startups were interviewed. The interviewer asked them questions pertaining to lessons they could give to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Based off of their answers, here are the most common mistakes that can kill a startup:
Not doing the proper research.
A good idea is not the same as a good business. One of the things that can turn an idea into an effective business is research. By not doing the necessary research – or doing the research but ignoring the results – you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Forcing a model.
A lot of founders have an image for what their business should look like. Over time, they grasp so tightly to that image that they become reluctant to deviate from that initial model or image. Chasing after the mechanic of the product, as opposed to the reason of the product, is dangerous. A specific model isn’t guaranteed to always work just because it worked for someone else.
Overvaluing positive feedback.
When looking at feedback, it’s tempting to focus solely on the positive. While this positive feedback could mean that you are doing something well, it doesn’t always teach you anything. The behavior of prospects teaches you a lot more than a five-star Yelp review.
As Flannery O’Connor once said, “a good man is hard to find.” The same holds true in the startup world – finding a hard-working, passionate employee with talent is difficult. One great way to work around that is to require any potential employees to provide references.
Scaling too soon.
Startups often don’t know how to handle growth and end up trying to scale before they’re really solving a problem or achieving a product-market fit, which sets them up for failure. Ask yourself if your product is completing the job you believe your consumers are hiring it to do. You can’t truly begin to scale before you confidently answer that question and back it up.