Startups are synonymous with failing in the first year. If you ask most founders why that is, they’ll tell you cash flow or the fact there’s not a need for the product or service (not market testing thoroughly). That is, obviously, not an exhaustive list by any means – there are many, many common mistakes that founders make all the time and traps that can cause existential damage to their budding business. Make sure you’re wiser in the face of these common traps:
Not Knowing that Life WILL Change
Your life is about to get completely dominated by a business. If you can’t make that work, don’t try – it’ll be a waste of time. Odds are, you probably are dedicated enough for that, but your partner, parent, best friend, or whoever you spend most of your time with will likely not really understand the full extent that a startup will eat up your time. If they’re miserable and frustrated with you, it can force you to choose between your social life and your company – a horrible decision that takes joy and attention away from your startup.
Not Believing in the Crosshairs
Your company will be small for the first year at least, even if you’re a unicorn, so you probably won’t think you’re a target to hackers. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Why would a hacker spend 100 days trying to take down a mature unicorn when it could instead look for the low-hanging fruit? That’s you.
If you have a web-app or website – even if it’s just WordPress – you can be hacked very easily without proper precautions. Take a few days to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are SQL Injections, and are you vulnerable?
- Are those plug-ins really necessary, and will you make sure they are always up-to-date?
- Remember that, especially with tech, a stitch in time saves nine.
Sure, data is almost always flawed in some way. When you’re an early-stage business, it can be easy to think that unsavory data isn’t too important – you’ll have small data sizes and many reasons to think that your results were anomalies. In some instances, they will be, but even anomalous data gives you very interesting information that can lead to insights or action points that can better your business in some way. Be aware of the ludicrously strong powers of confirmation bias too.
“A Sale is Easy”
When you make a big sale, especially when you are a B2B business, it can be easy to push sales into the future. There’s always an excuse why you can’t sell right now; maybe you don’t have a sample, maybe you just think you have a lot of time. No matter how good a salesperson you are, you need to give yourself time to make sales. Sales can take a lot of time, especially when it’s a big account. A big sell can take more than a year to organize, so don’t treat sales that your cash flow relies upon like they will be quick and easy – they won’t be.