How to Keep Your Startup Afloat: 7 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

Running a startup successfully is not only about what you do properly but also about what mistakes you avoid and – what matters – how you avoid them.

In this article, you’ll find 7 common missteps to be avoided if you want to keep your business operating. It will be useful if you are thinking of starting your business, have a pree-seed/early-stage startup, or even have been running a company for many years.

1. You start your company all alone
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in building and maintaining your business is to think you can do it all by yourself. The reasons why you should consider having a founding team are numerous: not so many tasks can be undertaken by one founder, the skills and experience you have may not be enough (so that you’ll need to have those 1-2 more people helping you running your business), and finally when you have your ups and downs, the support the co-founders may provide you with is really valuable.

Even having three or four co-founders isn’t too many, if you have a good decision-making hierarchy.

Besides, as we’ve said before in Building Your Startup: How to Make Your Startup Go Live, VCs are more eager to invest in startups that possess a founding team, rather than an individual founder. 

2. You manage your budget incorrectly
Starting a business without a good understanding of how much money you will need for both setting it off and maintaining it is a dead duck. That’s actually where your business plan comes in handy 😉

As a rule of thumb, initially, every startup does not bring any profit, and there’s a small  amount of time before your money runs out. If you get money from investors, you want to take enough so that you could move to the next step of  fundraising. To get that flexibility, we recommend that you initially spend money only on building a solid prototype. 

Except for raising enough money, you want to consider spending your money wisely. List out all your expenses needed for both starting and keeping your startup operating in the very beginning.

Do not hire lots of people at first: this will not only increase your expenses, but also slow your business down. Initially, the only people you’ll need are developers and business devs who will promote your product and bring customers to you.

3.You don’t spend money on marketing
What’s the point of developing your product if you do not offer it to your end users? Product development has little sense without sales, so make sure marketing is one of your business priorities.

Besides, marketing is not only about the way you make money, but also about the way you get familiar with your customers. By taking into consideration your users’ feedback, you can improve your product as well.

Needless to say that the more time is spent on your product development, the less time is left for making money. 😉

4. You don’t look for remote workers
This point is often underestimated by many business owners. To get good work done, you’ll definitely need skillful developers. However, not all of them may live in your country. To increase your chances of building a great product, you want to look for tech specialists abroad. As quarantine has shown, working remotely is no less efficient as having your in-house team right before your eyes. Besides, many countries may offer you skillful remote workers at lower rates in comparison to your country 😉

5.  You don’t ask for help
Again, thinking that you are Jack of all trades doesn’t work. OK – you’ve got a co-founder. You attend different meetups. However, that’s not enough. At some point, you will still feel the lack of experience, and the only reasonable option is  to turn to others for help. Different business issues require particular knowledge and multiple approaches to use, that’s why having advisors/mentors who could help you in making educated decisions is a must. We’d recommend that you think of spending your expenses on hiring a mentor/advisor just as you start building your team.

6. You hire people only for skills
Another huge mistake that may bite you many times in the future is hiring people, taking into account only their professional skills. At the end of the day, your team is people, and those are people you are to spend most of your life time with. If you or your  teammates are not comfortable with a developer who is a great specialist, you’d better not hire them. A person who’s hard to work with will eventually bring you more loses – at some point, other team members or even a customer may leave you if they don’t get along well.

7. You don’t build relationships
Connecting with potential partners is great, but no less important is trying to keep those relationships alive. Besides, you never know who your potential partners might be so it’s always good to develop relations with anyone you meet at the conferences, meetups, business trips, etc. Besides, the people you get acquainted with might introduce you to someone who’s an 800 pound Gorilla in your market.

Practice shows that even if you’ve been doing a good job and your business is operating less or more profitably, you could be missing one or more points from this list that might be crucial in the long run. Hope those tips help you and remember: knowing how to avoid a mistake is a half of success.