7 Deadly Mistakes of an Entrepreneur
Budding entrepreneurs often ask me, “What are the common mistakes that founders do?”
Well, entrepreneurship for us, is a journey of trial and error, which essentially means experimentation with ideas and insights. Science tells us that most experiments never yield desired outcomes. That is intrinsic, as outcomes are function of control factors and researchers capabilities.
No one has ever succeeded without experimenting enough. However, mistakes are different. When you are into a situation, you often find yourself doing the right things. But, post-facto, you often realise the blunders you have made.
Here’s a brief list of mistakes those very often make a venture die.
- 1. Making something that no one ever wants
Very often a startup idea comes from the core skill of a person. An andriod developer can make any app. But, if the app does not solve problems of a customer, she will never ise the app. This is the classic mistake. Just because, we are good at something, doesn’t necessarily makes it useful for the society.
- 2. Confusing a product (or service) with business
Just because you can make a product does not imply you can build a venture. These are two different things. Both of these require different capabilities.
One of the most important things that founders do is to build a business model, which is different from building a product. Elon Musk is trying to build a business model of Tesla charging points, which is different from building batteries.
- 3. Lacking focus
This could mean, not knowing what to do or trying to do too many things which are not compatible with venture goals.
Most founders love to be in startup mode, as they enjoy the feeling of being in startup mode. Sometimes a bit too much. We often find a common trait in such founders – they havent set the targets that they have to achieve.
- 4. The All-rounder syndrome
Founders are high on adrenaline. They have high energy, have ability to work several hours and are usually multi-skilled. This also turns into their biggest weakness. We have seen, often founders put more task on their plate than what they can effectively deliver. End result is the things are more where they were than move forward.
- 5. Too afraid to experiment
To borrow an old wisdom, startups without experimentation is hallucinating. Unless you are prepared to climb thousand steps, each step different form the previous one, a startup would never work.
Founder when they start appear very brave. Their social media pages are full of bold inspiring messages. But, most startups within a few weeks (or months) develop cold feet. They have spent a few thousand dollars on building a product, pay the various bills, the bank balance keeps depleting and nothing is ready. This is when most startups lose their bravado. They stop experimenting, as each experiment requires resources.
- 6. Hiring decisions
The first hire in most startups is a friend or a relative. Most often this chap is bored in his job or a jobless person trying to stay engaged. Founders commit the mistake of bring such people into their venture without serious mapping their capabilities with respect to the venture goals. Very often, we have seen, everyone in the team having the same skill-sets – all techie team, all marketing team and so on.
- 7. Failing to bootstrap
Most startups fail, because they burnt the cash too fast. They spend too much cash on advertising, rents and consultants. Bootstrapping is the most important virtue of a startup. Nascent ventures are known to thrive in barsaati sets, basements or garages.
The last word
Just because, I have written these as deadly mistakes doesnt mean that you shoudl stop making these mistakes. While the mistake may be the same, different people get unique insights. However, when three or more of these mistakes happen in tandem, it could prove to be deadly for the venture.