For the last few years, the number of startups has risen dramatically. The whole world is taking part in the idea and ever year thousands of new entrepreneurs emerge. A lot of them are achieving success, both as a successful entrepreneur and as an influential figure. Some of them turned billionaires overnight and the shocking part: most of the billionaire entrepreneurs haven’t even crossed thirty.The success story may sound fascinating but the risk of failure is there too. In fact, the number of startups that fail is much higher than the number of startups that succeed. What are the factors that might be on the way of your startup?
When your startup is new, it’s absolutely essential that you hire people who will help you grow. You can’t afford to waste time paying people who aren’t effective. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people or bad employees. The wrong hire could still be a talented and committed person. It just means they’re not the right fit for your startup at that moment. When you’re scaling up beyond yourself, or beyond you and your co-founders, you need to hire people who match your passion for growth.
Have you ever heard that if you build a product that’s good enough, you’ll win? Here’s the thing: products don’t win. Businesses do. And if you want to beat the competition, your product isn’t all that matters. You’ll also have to out-market them, out-support them and outperform them in many other ways. But a great product won’t save bad marketing, either.
In some fields the way to succeed is to have a vision of what you want to achieve, and to stick to it no matter what challenges you encounter. Starting startups is not one of them. The stick-to-your-vision approach works for something like winning an Olympic gold medal, where the problem is well-defined. Startups are more like science, where you need to follow the trail wherever it leads. So don’t get too attached to your original plan, because it’s probably wrong. Most successful startups end up doing something different than they originally intended—often so different that it doesn’t even seem like the same company. You have to be prepared to see the better idea when it arrives. And the hardest part of that is often discarding your old idea.
Companies of all sizes have a hard time getting software done. It’s intrinsic to the medium; software is always almost done. It takes an effort of will to push through this and get something released to users. Startups make all kinds of excuses for delaying their launch. Most are equivalent to the ones people use for procrastinating in everyday life. There’s something that needs to happen first. One reason to launch quickly is that it forces you to actually finish some quantum of work. Nothing is truly finished till it’s released; you can see that from the rush of work that’s always involved in releasing anything, no matter how finished you thought it was. The other reason you need to launch is that it’s only by bouncing your idea off users that you fully understand it.
You can’t build things users like without understanding them. Perhaps there’s a rule here: you create wealth in proportion to how well you understand the problem you’re solving, and the problems you understand best are your own.You can of course build something for users other than yourself. But you should realize you’re stepping into dangerous territory.
Fights between founders are surprisingly common. A founder leaving doesn’t necessarily kill a startup, though. Plenty of successful startups have had that happen. Fortunately it’s usually the least committed founder who leaves. If there are three founders and one who was lukewarm leaves, big deal. If you have two and one leaves, or a guy with critical technical skills leaves, that’s more of a problem. However, even that is survivable.
The failed startups you hear most about are the spectactular flameouts. Those are actually the elite of failures. The most common type is not the one that makes spectacular mistakes, but the one that doesn’t do much of anything—the one we never even hear about, because it was some project a couple guys started on the side while working on their day jobs, but which never got anywhere and was gradually abandoned. Statistically, if you want to avoid failure, it would seem like the most important thing is to quit your day job. Most founders of failed startups don’t quit their day jobs, and most founders of successful ones do.
It is always good to have a mentor for your startup. Going alone there are more chances of you making mistakes that may lead you to failure. Mentors can guide you in your day to day decisions to avoid falling off the cliff.
Having figured out everything listed above helps an entrepreneur kick off the startup for a sustainable long run. But there is one more thing which should be addressed regularly and carefully, and that is market condition and competitor’s current performance. Many times, startups blinded by the passion for their product, forget to address this aspect of business, thereby launching something which is already there in market or over pricing products which are available at cheaper rates etc. A good market study, along with competitor analysis, can help startups to accelerate their growth by providing product and services which are still missing in the market.
· Ignoring customer feedback
· Business model failure
· Legal challenges
· Poor allocation of resources (human, financial, physical and every other)
· Poor execution
· Pivot gone bad
No matter how many factors I’ll enumerate, each case is personal. Besides, it’s better to regret having done something rather than feeling sorry about not having given it a go.