Three Startup Mistakes to Avoid As A Founder

We all make mistakes as we may not be aware of the process or have prior experience of Startup.

In 2020, Startup is not a buzz word anymore, but it has become a new synonym for business.

Startups are more popular because they focus on solving real-life problems using technology.

They are always in the news because of their valuation and funding they acquire.

I am sharing my story of failure when I left my job in 2009 to do business and the startup mistakes I made.

While working in different jobs, I was learning Digital Marketing, but the only thing on my mind was to start a business.

Sometimes my friends would ask: what kind of business?

My answer would be: “Something using technology which solves daily consumer problems!”

Being in the customer service industry for a few years, I always thought about two things:

  1. How products and services can be better to keep customers happy after-sales.
  2. How to attract new customers by improving the product, quality, and interaction.

I had an idea of e-commerce Startup focused on delivering Grocery to consumers with few clicks.

Named it TOSSIN (the online shopping stores of India).

I am not getting in detail of what I struggled with and what I did to launch.

Let’s keep it focused on the mistakes I made, which led to my startup failure.

MISTAKE NUMBER 1

NO CO-FOUNDER

Every business doesn’t need a business partner.

You always need people/team who are subject experts and can align with your vision to achieve goals.

My expertise is Sales & Marketing only, let it be business development, marketing strategy, implementation, partnerships or advertising.

My startup being an e-commerce website, and the first thing required to build a website is programming and technical knowledge.

I had NONE!

Instead of spending my savings on building an e-commerce website with a freelancer, I could have either asked one my programmer friends or worked to find a technical co-founder who had a passion for creating products, similar vision, and goals.

It’s a common startup mistake where a founder wants to do everything alone.

I know it is a tough part, but try to find a co-founder at skills you don’t have.

MISTAKE NUMBER 2

FINANCIAL PLANNING

I was so excited about starting a business that I didn’t take 30 minutes out of any day to plan anything financially.

My thoughts were like:

I have an idea, I will get the website ready, register a company, and I already have three grocery store partners and will deliver myself so, what else do I need.

While the website was getting ready and I was busy running around to get more partners and plan delivery areas and other things, I didn’t see that I was spending my savings in the wrong way!

Spending too much, too early on things that are not required when you are planning business, is the biggest mistake you can make towards failure.

I was spending unnecessarily on:

  1. Office supplies when I was the only person working on it, and there was no office.
  2. Subscription of email management, template design, and business planning tool was not required at all.
  3. Running around wasting time to meet people, friends, and buying lunches.
  4. I hired CA and lawyer on an annual basis while there was no business.

Business, Financial, and Legal Planning are essential aspects of the business.

But, it doesn’t mean you need to have everything top-notch from day one of the startup.

This mistake is done by startup as some founders spend too much on company registration and legal work.

It is required, but it can be as simple as a partnership agreement to start with.

It would be best if you focus on your product, competition, development, and finding customers instead of spending time and money on unnecessary things and tasks similar to what I did.

MISTAKE NUMBER 3

FOCUSING TOO MUCH ON SUCCESS

You may think, what’s wrong in thinking about success.

You are right, but when you overthink something, you start ignoring things, which can also be a reason to fail.

If you ask what I was doing wrong while building up my e-commerce startup, I would say nothing!

At the same time, I was too much focused-on success by thinking:

  • I will make the best portal of all time, and instead of launching it, I kept on modifying little things.
  • I will make sure all customers are happy, but I had not started.
  • Processing refunds and returns within 24 hours. 

Great thought, but in 2009, it was not possible as FinTech wasn’t in play as it is today, and a specific process took time in banking.

It would be best if you focused on success, but don’t wait too long to launch.

Just start with a few customers (maybe friends) who trust you and improve your product and service with their feedback.

Grow your customer base to plan and improve with feedback.

Move it to the next level, where you have a team to handle the unexpected errors and things to resolve for your customers.

Ideas may succeed or fail, but the learning which you get from them is crucial.

Keep working towards your goals.

If something doesn’t go the way you plan it, take some time off, talk to friends and family and replan.

Start working again on it as soon as goals are clear, and you know which part of it needs more focus for improvement first.

Failure is part of life as much as success is!

Learn to handle both equally as we learn from mistakes and we can share with our success.

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