Startup Tuesday: 4 Common Startup Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
Posted by Erica Bell on August 13, 2013 in Startups [ 0 Comments ]
Starting a business isn’t easy and you’re guaranteed to encounter some bumps along the road to success. However, knowing how to navigate some of these steps along the way can help you avoid common mistakes made by a number of startups and new business owners. Early stage startups and new founders often make these mistakes because of excitement, passion or a lack of experience. Here are 4 common startup mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Trying to Go It Alone or With Too Many People
Starting and running a new business is stressful; there’s no doubt there. To avoid burning yourself out, don’t try to go it alone. Find a partner that challenges you, but is easy to collaborate with. Having another opinion can help you refine your business and product. Not only that, having a partner and other people helping you often means more initial investment money to work with. Similarly, having too many people could lead to too many people trying to call the shots could lead to destruction. Find the balance and organizational structure that works best for your business, ideas and products.
Sometimes it’s difficult to translate the thoughts in your head to something that can be put on paper. Designers and IT professionals often encounter this problem when trying to explain concepts or necessary steps to their executive team whose expertise doesn’t fall within those realms. Excellent communication is a must, especially when you’re in front of partners, investors and potential early-bird customers. Listen to critics and those around you. In the startup community, there are a lot of networking events you can make the most of. However, these are often introductory events so finding a balance between networking and working must be struck.
Underestimating What It Takes to Scale
Growing a business isn’t easy. Underestimating the struggles you encounter and potential pitfalls is one mistake you likely won’t be able to overcome, at least not in the near future. In the beginning, you’ll be giving a lot without receiving a lot in return. It will be stressful trying to make payroll, find a balance between your work and personal lives, and maintain the direction you’re aiming for. It will be stressful and you might not make it. Don’t give up on your first or second startup efforts; it could take more than a few tries.
Raising Awareness to Early
Whether it’s money from investors or press, raising eyebrows too early could be a mistake. When it comes to press, think about why you are trying to get media coverage for your startup. If you’re trying to get investors, press can be great. If you’re doing it to gain users, wait until just before your product launches because the increase in attention will be only temporary if you’re too early. Until you’ve nailed down the business model and product, don’t go seeking money from investors. You should be at a stage in your life where you’re willing to take a risk, including losing money. Without clear direction, investors won’t be as interested and chances are they won’t invest.
New business owners and startup founders have to be risk takers, not just people with ideas for a product or service. Building a team and product will cost you in the beginning, but as your business progresses and you narrow your focus, you’ll be able to direct efforts towards media attention and investment from VCs and other investors.
What are some other common startup mistakes?
(Image: stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net)