After 20 years in business and 15+ startups, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I see these same mistakes being made in startups that I advise. Avoiding these mistakes will help you avoid losing money, momentum and opportunities.
Here are my top 12:
1. Not identifying and solving a problem. The best products are solutions to problems.
2. Not developing an MVP – minimum viable product.
3. Wasting time looking for investors or getting a loan before proving viability via an MVP.
4. Not giving value to build relationships and community.
5. Stealth mode. You miss out on getting noticed and getting traction.
6. Not testing assumptions by making a sale. The only way you can get your product validated is if someone pays for it. Focus groups and asking your mom what she thinks isn’t what you need. You need sales.
7. Not focusing on 1 product until it’s successful (or leaving it if it’s not).
8. Not having a marketing budget. “If you build it, they will come.” only works in the movie.
9. Not having a content marketing schedule.
10. Paying money for hats and mugs before making any sales. Having swag doesn’t make you a company. Generating money does.
11. Too much time spent on planning and research and not enough on implementation and action.
12. Not launching quickly. Get your MVP done, get it into the market and sell it. You can refine and improve as you go.