About startups and their right to make a mistake

My experience about startups

There is a popular mind, that startup has rights to make mistakes. Because it works with a huge amount of unknown data and unverified ideas. This is correct, but most founders underestimate the cost of such mistakes. It could be too high or even fatal. Here is my list of the most popular startup mistakes.

Wrong unit economy

Sometimes it happens, when you sell a lot, but the price of a new customer, maintenance, and production of the product cost you more than you receive in the cache. And it’s ok for some time, especially when you have money from investments. But when money from investments ran out, and you can’t get a new round, because investors see your wrong unit economy. And you don’t know how to fix it. Sometimes it’s too hard to fix it.

Wrong people in the team

The wrong team could kill even the best product. Especially when your team is growing, but you didn’t have time to set up processes correctly. It often happens after the investment round. Founders often couldn’t see this mistake for a long time.

From my experience, it’s bad to have the wrong people in any department. If wrong people are in the sales team, they always have the reason why they can’t sell anything. They always can analyze, search for problems in other departments, and then they just leave the company, once they understand that it’s going down. If wrong people are in the development team, they always have the reason why the development goes so slow, and why it’s impossible to develop some new features.

At the same time, the right people will quit, because they can’t be effective in such a company. It could be fixed easily. You just have to detect and fire the wrong people.

Do the same and expect other results

First of all, I mean your product strategy and marketing. If you are a startup you have to try different strategies and shoot where it works.

But in the real world, most startups continue to do what they do, even if it doesn’t work and doesn’t help them to grow. Most founders think that they are not ready to change themselves. But startup which is not ready to be changes - is dead.

Survivor's mistake

Most startups are trying to learn from successful companies. Just because they succeed. As a result, they copy the same actions, but it doesn’t achieve anything good. Why? Because all successful startups are different. Each of them did something right in the right place and at the right time. And they were just lucky. But it’s almost impossible to repeat the way of another startup. Just because you the same, but in the other place and at the other time. And maybe you are just less lucky.

As for me, I prefer to learn about other startup failures and not repeat them.

Fear to make a mistake

Of course, everyone has the right to make a mistake. But it’s important to understand that you were wrong, make conclusions and not repeat them. And of course, you should think in advance which negative consequences each of your decisions can lead to, in the context of profits/losses, reputation, and other important things for a startup.

But never be afraid to make a mistake if you are a startup founder. You must be bold and brave to succeed.