How to improve the chances of your startup failing?
This might not seem like the question you want to ask. You’re all about succeeding, right? So why on earth would you want to think about how to fail?
But it turns out that it’s a quite helpful way to look at things. This pretty interesting article from Charlie O’Donnell takes a slightly tongue in cheek look at ways to boost your chances of failure – and it highlights some of the mistakes a lot of startups make that doom them to failure.
So what are the worse ones out there? Let’s take a closer look…
Don’t bother creating a cash flow model
Underestimating the importance of a cash flow model is one of the biggest mistakes for rookie startups who are caught up in a wave of adrenaline, optimism and probably way more caffeine than is good for them. And in those heady early days, it can be tempting to flip the bird to such prosaic conventions. But the reality is that having a cash flow model is more than essential. Without it, your startup could easily bleed itself dry. You need to know exactly what’s going on so that you can make sure your business can survive. You can’t run a startup on optimism alone, after all.
Assuming that lots of users will be using your platform when you don’t have a plan
Confidence and optimism are pretty helpful traits when you’re in the tough world of running a startup, but don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll be facing a huge rush – when you’ve got no plan of actually getting the customers in. Creating a great product or service is just the start. But you also need to think PR, using content and social media marketing, advertising and more. You’ll need to get a pretty robust and realistic outlook of how you’ll get the first projected customers in through the door – otherwise that confidence could soon be draining out.
Think you can simply copy the big guns’ strategies as a short cut to success
A lot of startups make the mistake of thinking that by looking at the strategy of a company like Facebook or Instagram, they’ve got a ready-made template for their own success. It doesn’t work.
Why not? You’ve got to remember first of all that they were in their own very different environments at their time. The challenges they faced may not be the same as yours, and their strategies might not even be helpful or relevant to you. And don’t forget that they’ve probably raised huge amounts of money to get to where they are now. There are no short cuts!
Think that you can get away without any product management
To create a product that people are really going to love and want in their lives, you need more than technical insight. While the role of the Hacker is absolutely vital to your success, product management is another must-have if you want to make it to the top. Product management takes a look at the product from the perspective of the user. It means looking at the problems that users are going to be experiencing – and how to solve them. It means keeping on top of what is out there already, and seeing what’s missing. Ultimately, this is essential to making sure the ideas generated actually have some real value in the market place. Check out this comprehensive slideshow for the scoop of what product management really means.