Launching a startup needs tremendous courage, since the journey is fraught with risks at every step for the entrepreneur. It is no mean feat trying to shape an idea into a viable business, and given the amount of money and effort that goes into chasing that vision, there be nothing worse than seeing the dream fall apart. It is nothing short of heartbreaking!
Here are some mistakes you should avoid making, since they can prove fatal for a startup:
Bypassing market research
Doing the basic groundwork is an absolute must before putting any money to back the idea and formalizing it into a startup. It’ll give you a clear indication of whether what you have set out to achieve is worth it or not and if you need to change course and make changes to your concept. Taking any shortcuts on this front can prove to be a very costly mistake at a later stage, since it could mean doing a pivot or even shutting shop, if the idea fails.
Losing focus on the product
Given the encouraging response of investors and other stakeholders in the ecosystem towards startups, many new age entrepreneurs start focusing too hard on chasing investments. The process requires a lot of effort and follow ups and takes away from the time that you should be spending on building a strong product instead. Remember, if your product stands out, investors will come chasing you anyway, and in that scenario you will also be in a position to negotiate better and get a more lucrative deal. Moreover, a strong product will also find favour with the customers and set the cash register ringer faster, which is crucial to build a sustainable business.
Hiring the wrong team/team members
No entrepreneur can go far without a team; or rather without a ‘competent’ team. The key is not to hire the first person that comes your way, but to exercise caution and settle only for those who have the right attitude and skills to actually make a difference to your venture. Resources are scarce in any new venture, and therefore, the contribution of each team member is crucial in ensuring that the plans are executed well, in order to ensure success in the long run. Even one hiring gone wrong in the core team can spell doom for the startup.
Ignoring Customer Feedback
For a startup, customer-orientation should be of prime importance. No venture can remain sustainable if the customers are not happy. Remember, that you exist solely because they are buying your product, and the day they stop buying from you, you are doomed. It is for this reason that customer feedback assumes great importance for a startup. It can help you gauge the response to your product and identify the gaps that need to be corrected in order to get a strong foothold in the market. Since your customers have the power to make or break you, it is only wise to heed to their feedback and act accordingly.
Scaling up too fast
While there’s nothing better than to see your startup to scale up and grow, remember that it ought to be done at the right time and at a sustainable pace. Until you are fully confident about the product and have tested it in the market, you are not really ready to scale up. Also, you have to be fully geared in terms of logistics, customer support etc. to cater to a whole new geography, unless you want to fall flat on your face after spending a bomb to scale up. If you end disappointing your new customers, not only will you lose them forever, it will also damage your goodwill in the market and cause irreversible damage, thus hampering your long-term prospects.
Every entrepreneur is driven by their passion to make their venture a success. But there is no scope for shortcuts in this journey and a great deal of caution needs to be exercised at every step in order to build an unshakable foundation for the future. Wouldn’t you much rather work on getting it right rather than rushing it and making mistakes that not just prove costly in terms of time, effort and money, but can even prove fatal for your business?