4 Rookie Mistakes That Will Wreck Your Startup

July 30, 2017

9:20 am

Countless entrepreneurs have written books on habits that brought them success, but you probably haven’t read them because you’re too busy putting out fires at your new business. Besides, people learn better from mistakes anyways, right?

Below are some of the most common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make that can spell disaster for their company—and what to do to avoid them.

Doing It All Yourself

It’s not a coincidence that the most successful companies have more than one founder. Bill Gates cofounded Microsoft with Paul Allen. Steve Jobs cofounded Apple with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Larry Page cofounded Google with Sergey Brin—and the list goes on.

You can’t expect to truly succeed as a small business with so much responsibility heaped on your shoulders alone. While it may seem less risky to be the only founder, in the end, the work is too stressful and the lows are too low for you to thrive as a single business owner.

Burning the Midnight Oil

Advising a business owner on the importance of sleep may seem like an exercise in futility, but it doesn’t make it any less true. You can’t make up for long nights spent at the office by sleeping in on the weekends. Sleep is not “bankable.” Ten hours of sleep one night does not make up for five hours of sleep five night in a row.

Lack of sleep takes its toll. Chronic sleep deprivation makes you more irritable, stressed and absentminded—all things that will manifest themselves in your work and personal life. So stop with the excuses and go to bed already.

Ignoring Your Audience

Whether you’re in the middle of launching your first business or updating your product to be more competitive, you need to intimately understand what pain points your product actually solves and clearly communicate how it solves them. The best way to do this is know what problem your audience has and whether your solution is better than the competition And to find out just what those problems are listen to your audience and what they are looking for in their user experience.

Most businesses fail when owners create a derivative product that only fixes a minor flaw of a larger competitor’s product. In cases like this, it’s not unusual for the larger competitor to either buy the other company or update their product to incorporate the features you offer. If necessity is not the mother of your business model or product, you need to talk to your audience more.

Trying to Build the Perfect Product on Your First Try

Having a small budget is not the same as being lean. A lean company upends the traditional business model by launching the most basic product as soon as possible, using customers’ feedback to shape the depth and scope of that product’s future.

By essentially using customers as beta testers, this model quickly provides reliable data on whether your product is competitive, ensuring you don’t waste exorbitant time and money on a “perfect” product that does not provide sufficient returns. The feedback you get regarding your product’s user experience is the key to creating and refining a product that will have an impact. Simple changes often have the biggest results. Follow the tips above and make sure you don’t end up on any future lists of your own.

Read more about avoid mistakes as a startup on TechCo

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Alice Williams is a communications professional and freelance writer, covering topics related to business, tech and social media. She has an MA in Communication Studies.

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