11 Fatal Mistakes that Kill Early-Stage Startups 

11 Fatal Mistakes that Kill Early-Stage Startups 

Achieving success in business is every entrepreneur’s dream. The road to business victory, however, is full of strains and troubles from the inside and outside forces. If you are one of those who are currently struggling with starting up a business project, make sure you do not fall into these fatal mistakes.

1- Wrong co-founder 

One of the top reasons why startups fail is collaborating with the wrong co-founder. While as a founder you might think that starting a business with a friend can be fun, in reality, it can turn out bad if you cannot maintain a fair relationship in the course of your business. Co-founders should share the same vision and enthusiasm, they should have complementary skills and a great work ethic. Does your co-founder have this? 

2- Issuing equity too early 

Generally, profits will be shared equally between co-founders. Yet, what will you feel if they quit after 2 months working with you? Therefore, make sure you have at least 2-4 years of vesting agreements in place and specify any if-then scenarios in contracts you sign with your partners and early employees. 

See also: Startup Guide to Survive Against Tech Giant Corporations

3- Focus on competition

Being competitive is a good starter. Yet, being overly concerned with it is not okay. Entrepreneurs should follow their own product development path and only make sure they reach customers sooner. 

4- Giving up too early 

Giving up is different from failing. Giving up is when you know you can succeed but you give in to circumstances instead of pushing a little longer.

5- Not failing soon enough 

This might contradict to the previous point, yet failing soon is about finding out which features or activities do not work and making necessary improvements or adjustments to it. 

6- Too many features 

Oftentimes, developing too many features does not make a product better, it actually can make things worse. The best products, like Apple or Google, are simple. As Einstein said, “Any darn fool can make something complex, but it takes a genius to make something simple.” 

7- Product for everyone 

Remember, most businesses that succeed have a specified target market. Thus, when you are building a product, you should have a specific user in mind. Build a great product for one segment, nail it there and move to another one afterwards. 

8- Lack of focus 

Most entrepreneurs suffer from the disease of having too many ideas. You want to become a tycoon and cannot give up on another great idea you’ve had. But just like energy that can be neither created nor destroyed, entrepreneurs only have a limited amount of it, therefore, use it wisely. 

9- Ignoring cash flow 

Money is the lifeblood of a business and cash-flow reflects how healthy it is. Entrepreneurs often tend to confuse sales or profits with cash-flow, this can leave them out with nice numbers but no actual money to pay bills. 

10- Not using customer feedback 

Customers should be at the core of all products. After all, it is the customer for whom the products are made. Getting and valuing their feedback all the time is an absolute must. 

11- Keeping your idea secret 

When you have a nice idea that likely succeeds, you might be concerned if you tell anyone, they might steal it from you. The reality is, as Cdixon said, nobody cares. It is the executed startups who make money that is copied. Do not deprive yourself of the feedback you can get as early as possible. Get on your feet, spread the idea and build it. The number one key you should keep in mind is: have focus.

Read also: The (I’m)possible Mission: Developing a Startup Mindset