Not following a discipline — it’s very important to fix a time for yourself and your team when they come to office. It’s a startup — you need to work more than everyone else. Yes culture is important, coolness of a startup is important but the most important thing is hard work.
Not knowing what to do — a lot of first time entrepreneurs are confused about what their focus should be. One they need to be hands on with everything — product, design, sales, team and ops. Second — they need to focus a lot on hiring the right people. Third — every morning write on a piece of paper what all you need to get done today and by the end of the day get all that done
The speed of hiring new people — if it’s too fast or too slow you’re doomed. It should be moderate — it should be done consciously and you should be involved with each and every step. If your product is selling hire one sales person per month for next couple of months. Don’t hire five of them in one go. Rookie mistake.
Focussing too much on competition — while building Flatchat we spent too much time on what others are doing because they were making news every week. And six months later they are failing in every aspect miserably. Don’t give your competitors mindshare. Give that mindshare to your product, to your employees and to your customers.
Ignoring the importance of processes — when I started my first company my co-founder who was four years elder and much more experienced asked me to circulate daily KPIs. I was irritated — why waste time on noting down key performance indicators — three years later I am teaching the same to my new co founders. Processes and numbers are very important. Startups are more about discipline than anything else.
Monthly burn rate — I have an excel sheet where I update on a daily basis — money left in the bank. And the other details which I update as they come is my monthly recurring or one time expenses. It shows me how many months of capital is left in the bank with the current expenses and revenue. I am obsessed about it and it makes me very conscious about the money we are spending. I don’t overspend — and I don’t underspend. Making this sheet will only help you spend the right amount of money.
Ignoring travel, reading and health — the best ideas do not come in that meeting room they come when you give yourself a few days every month and travel. When you spend time reading books that some of the best people are recommending and when health doesn’t take a backseat while you’re raising money.
Not having a “it’s not done until it’s done attitude” when someone who works in my company comes and says to me it’s done — I only ask one thing is it completely entirely done? If the answer is anything less than yes then they know what’s coming. It’s not done until it’s done. X was on leave or Y is not working or the Internet is slow is not an excuse. Every excuse is fixable. So saying that the shipping is delayed by three days is fine but giving excuses is not. Never.
Glamour and fame is a viscous cycle — you announced your funding news now everyone wants to interview you and invite you for a college talk then half the time you’re spending on this than building your business. Set rules for yourself and your co founders. If you focus on your product the fame quotient will anyway increase but if you let these things distract you — your core goal might suffer.