While no one likes to see a startup fail, the lessons learnt from failure can be invaluable. They say that “good people learn from their mistakes, but outstanding people learn from other people’s mistakes”, and so here are the five common startup mistakes and the lessons that every would-be entrepreneur should learn from.
1. Flying solo
Advice and mentorship are crucial to entrepreneurs. One of the biggest mistakes that an entrepreneur can make is assuming that their business should be a solo effort. The right mentor can accelerate a startup’s growth by providing contacts, helping with the business plan, long-term strategy formulation and acting as an experienced resource.
2. Failing to adapt
Build, test, iterate, reiterate, pivot. You know the rest. Frequently the first product that a startup brings to market won’t meet market needs. Every startup ever created has changed direction at some point- it’s impossible to accurately predict every single step that needs to be taken.
3. Not hiring the right staff
Ideas themselves aren’t worth much- it’s the people behind them that matter most. So if you’ve got people onboard who don’t share the same vision- change them. To build an ‘A-grade’ business, you need to surround yourself with ‘A-grade’ players.
4. Losing interest in the product
Maybe you’ve seen a better product, or (more likely) because the revenue model is taking longer than you originally predicted. Either way, this is NOT a good sign. A sense of resilience is one of the key aspects of success. A pivot is needed drastically to turn the idea into something you want. Rarely (if ever) do financial forecasts for startups work; pushing through the negativity can make the difference between success and failure. Stick with it!
5. Poorly defined ‘results’
Performance metrics should always extend beyond short-term revenue. Too frequently do startup entrepreneurs focus upon instant short-term results rather than building a business. Focus on building a sustainable business model, not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme.
If you want your startup to succeed, a good product and ambition aren’t always enough. Crisp execution, rather than a clever idea, is vital to the success of a startup. Starting a successful business is never easy, but with the right attitude and the right approach then it’s perfectly possible. When you do make mistakes- learn from them. They’re nothing wrong with experiencing failure so long as you learn from it.
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