Victims of their own passion for their businesses startup, founders often commit flaws unknowingly. The problem multiplies when no one in startup bothers to pinpoint their flaws. “It’s my baby” mentality actually turns a business guy into a father, which leads to a very different way of building a startup, where you see all your employees as your responsibilities, and their happiness becomes more crucial for you than RPE (Revenue Per Employee) metric.
Remember! You can survive till your startups make money. No startup, No you, No Employees, No dancing on tables, No sexy coffee mugs, No TT tables, No weekend booze. That’s the sole mantra.
Failure has been so dignified in recent past here in India that entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of failure at all. Writing their failure stories like they have done charity for Indian startup ecosystem and inspire others to fail too. Boys, failure doesn’t build a Google or a Microsoft. Failures build Napster. Now go and search what Napster is. That’s the glory of startup failures.
• Falling in love with your product.
They were so much in love with their product, especially tech startups that they unknowingly convinced themselves “if I will build it, they will come.” They spent hours in front of a computer with the product team, and never found enough time to market. They were so excited by their cool UI & hot features that they missed the changing consumer behavior.
• Busy entertaining your employees
The second funniest way they wrote their own failure story is by staying busy entertaining their employees. Wasted cash on fancy office space, cool posters, sexy coffee mugs, coffee machines, office trips, games, and dancing over table employees. They rarely were able to ask their employee to get down, sit and work. Work toward revenue.
• Not building a sales driven startup
Crucial as hell… most of the startups these days are products or idea-centric, and not sales centric. Customer’s money is the best money for a startup because it does several things simultaneously for you. A) Customer validation, B) Bring in cash, C) Free consumer research, D) New opportunities E) Team motivation.
A money making team is far motivated for all the right reasons than a fundraising team. But Alas… they ignored it.
• Broader focus on quick bucks (not planning marketing sustainability)
Marketing isn’t like Gymming where you In & Out often. Marketing strategy needs to be an effective one for both short term & long term sustainability of your startup. Focus on growing your mailing list, your visitor footfalls, direct consumer touch points, and sustainable organic lead channels. Your sales generation cost should go down over time, and marketing spent should be channelized to grow your consumer base, and building new revenue streams.
• Too much desperation for raising funds
I have been a victim of this too, and trust me no one looks funnier in a conference hall than one who’s looking for funding. Constantly spending your hard earned cash on attending events, spending more time on writing funding plan than the marketing plan, exchanging more emails with VC interns than customers, are signals that you are infected with fundophobia. A desperate fund chaser will only end up destroying his startup.
Follow the money, pal. It will bring you focus, passion, excitement, intelligence, speaking opportunities, industry leadership, and everything else that is required for your entrepreneurial success. Period.
(Guest written on LinkedIn)