Wednesday 13 September 2023

13 mistakes to avoid in your startup

13 mistakes to avoid in your startup:

1. Not getting Founders agreements done. I had a cofounder exit the company abruptly after some 1.5 years of starting up. I could save 50% of my startup only because we had a cofounder agreement. Make sure you have a lock-in of no less than 3 - 4 years.

2. Being slow with decision-making. I see so many founders getting into analysis paralysis over small things. Startups are all about moving fast, getting feedback and iterating because you cannot take decisions independently without customer feedback. So best to try and fail rather than over-analyse and not even try.

3. Not meeting customers. So many founders spend too much time on laptop building so-called "strategies" rather than actually meeting customers and gathering their feedback about their problem statements and what they want. Don't be that founder.

4. Not building a Customer Success team early on. The moment you have 2 - 3 large clients, start building a Customer Success team to retain these clients. It is easier to get revenue from existing customers who trust you than getting new, unaffiliated customers. Especially true for B2B SaaS.

5. Only chasing money. Remember that you are doing business to solve your customer's problems. Money is a byproduct. Focus on customer delight and money will follow. Focus on only making money and customers will leave.

6. Not treating your team members well. Your team members are the reason for your success. Without them, you are nothing. Take good care of them. Treat them well. Guide them and help them achieve success in their job.

7. Not being focused and chasing everything. Don't chase every sector, every industry, every geography. As Kunal Shah says - "If you try to become everything for everyone before becoming something for someone, you will become nothing for everyone".

8. Focusing too much on competitors rather than customers. If you like a girl, would you focus on what other boys are doing for that girl or would you focus on what that girl likes? Same for the customers. Focus on what the customer wants and not on what competitors are doing, and you will have a sustainable business in place.

I have shared a lot of my learnings about Business and Entrepreneurship on my YouTube Channel. Please check it here:

9. Not delegating work and trying to do everything yourself. Look, we all have only 24 hours a day, of which the productive hours can be at most 8 - 12. Don't be that founder who wants to do everything perfectly and then ends up doing nothing and gets burned out. Remember - "Done is better than perfect".

10. Chasing investors rather than chasing customers. The customer is the only one who will pay you money. Everyone else will ask for money. Investors invest so that they can get more money back. Focus on the customer and the investors will follow.

11. Not planning things. Not everything can be planned because startups, especially early stage, are chaotic. But not having a plan is worse because you can't be chasing every new thing every day because you haven't prioritized your work.

12. Not taking risks/bets. Startups are all about taking calculated risks and then making them work. If you are too conservative about taking bets, your growth would be slow and that might demotivate you. It is better to take bets and fail and learn than not progress at all.

13. Quitting too early and trying too many ideas. I see so many founders trying out every shiny startup idea and then hitting a roadblock and then trying something new from scratch after a few months. This way, you definitely cannot progress. Every startup idea will have some roadblocks. Don't quit too early.

What mistakes did you make in your startup? Share them in the comments below.

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