Launching a startup, like anything worth it, demands dedication, time, passion and commitment. And since you already possess all those and have just successfully started your own company, nothing should be standing in your way; you are well on your way to success city — or are you?
If you haven’t noticed by now, the wonderful startup that you have painstakingly started has a fragile ecosystem. For it to grow, all of its components must co-exist harmoniously with one another. But what if you, the creator of this beautiful startup, is unconsciously sabotaging the success of your own startup?
We compiled 4 ways that you may be doing to destroy your startup and how you can avoid them.
1. Be the wrong type of leader (or be surrounded by the wrong type of teammates)
Either you’re always hovering around your employees and micromanaging everything, or you’re the silent partner type — so silent, in fact, that your co-founders never get to speak with you or see you in the office.
Or maybe it’s the other way around. Your co-founders aren’t really proving to be team players and at the early stages of your startup’s story, they’re not living up to their part.
Read: 4 Ineffective Leadership Styles You Might Be Guilty of and How to Correct Them
What you should do:
Understanding that leading a company is not just about having enough startup capital for it to succeed is vital. Your role as a leader doesn’t end at finding investors or making sure that the permits and other important legal matters to start the business.
As a leader, you should be able to surround yourself with a team of like-minded individuals that would help you achieve your company’s goals. Not only that, you and your teammates or co-founders must be willing to “be married” to one another in the sense that you’ll equally bear the same hardships that come with the startup territory. So all of you, not just one of you, will have to work the same number of hours, deal with the same stresses and ambiguity.
2. Hire in a rush or hire the wrong people
Are you overly excited to fill all the slots in your company org chart that you start the hiring process as soon as you’re given the keys to your brand-spanking new office? Not doing enough research on applicants and hiring the first applicant whose resume lands inside your inbox? Promising to hire your biggest client’s unemployed and inexperienced friend out of fear?
Don’t. You might be hiring for all the wrong reasons and you don’t even realize it until it’s too late. You’ve already given a lot of your precious resources, money, and the most precious of them all — time — to employees who wouldn’t be the best fit for your company.
What you should do:
It’s a good idea to hire people who would compliment what your company needs. So say you have a kick-ass IT team who have developed a revolutionary software. Hire a marketing guru to help that software get to where it needs to go by advertising it properly. Pro tip: Don’t hire solely for affordability. The pros come with a price tag for good reason.
And though you intend to hire someone who’s already amazing at what they do and know the field well, you should have a clear vision or idea of what it is that you want them to accomplish. Set a realistic goal and talk about how it can be achieved.
Read: 6 Tips on How to Recruit Effectively for Startups
3. Be busy building an impressive company persona at the expense of more important things (like revenue).
Did you spend (a looooot) of your money on furniture and beautiful paintings to hang inside your massive office? Do you want your company to exude success by modeling your startup to already established giant companies and offer what they do to their employees?
Creating an impressive company image is important, no doubt about that. However, it should not be given more weight than revenue. Yes, giving the impression that you’re successful is important. But being successful, that’s the goal you must not lose sight of.
What you should do:
You should always keep in mind that the first few years of your business are lean years, and your teammates should know that fact, too. It usually takes 2-3 years before a startup turns a profit, and during that period of time, being as economical as you can will be to your business’s advantage.
Yes, image matters, but profit matters even more.
Focus on what your company’s core needs are. Save up as much as you can on your resources. You can ask your teammates to BYOD (bring your own device) so you won’t need to buy computers yet. There are a myriad of ways on how to stretch the dollar and you can find the ones that best work for you and your company. That way, you can reserve your money for your business’s core needs until your company is legitimately profitable.
When it comes to expenses, don’t think big right away. Okay, so you don’t have an office as expensive and as impressive as Google’s. Who said that it has to be? You’re a startup! Start small and grow it as huge as you’d want it to be.
Read: 8 Small Business Budget Tips to Save Smart On and Off Holidays
4. Be deaf to your customers’ needs (and be blind towards testing)
Do you believe that your vision for your product or company is unerring? Do you think that the features your product has are already the best that they can be? Do you make it a point to avoid reading any customer feedback?
Being deaf and blind to what people are saying about your company’s services or products is a no-no. Not only are these given out for free, but these things will ultimately spell success or doom for you and your startup.
What you should do:
Realize that customer feedback is one of the most important things you could ever get your hands on for the success of your startup. Hear your customers out — talk to them and try your best to understand the reasons why they purchase your product or go for your services, and ask them what you can do to make the whole experience better.
Don’t make the mistake of keeping your company, your product or your service a secret because you don’t want people to take your unique concept. If you keep on being secretive and treat all of the aforementioned as if it’s part of a CIA operation, chances are you haven’t tested out your product or service. And that is simply one great reason why some startups simply don’t make it.