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November 4, 2022

Biggest Mistakes First-time Startup Founders Make (And How To Avoid Them!)

Key Points

To Be A First Timer

To be able to put your ideas into concrete action by becoming a startup founder is surely an exciting milestone in life. However, one must be aware of all the work, effort, and organization it requires. Undoubtedly, to lead is to take a big load of responsibility that, if channeled correctly, can get you to achieve your wildest dreams.

In this article, we will cover some of the goals, challenges, and cycles a first-time startup founder goes through and will offer a kind piece of advice to steer through the chaos in an efficient way. Yes, knowledge is power, so you might have found some valuable pieces of information that will serve as golden keys along the way.


Turning Big Ideas Into Reality

Work processes:  A goal-related, down-to-earth prioritization is your best friend. Getting your product out there and talking to users is the key that opens the door to iterating and improving what you are building. To achieve this conclusion, a good prioritization of time and resources when dealing with tasks is needed. Define roles early on so that the whole team is on the same page, working together like a well-oiled machine. Yes, these roles could change over time according to needs and eventualities but is important to make sure all tasks are being covered efficiently and that not everyone is working on the same problem. A blind spot in your work process could take a toll on your team and your mission as an early-stage startup.

Hiring employees that will make your revenue grow: A great piece of advice for startup founders is, if you have the budget, prioritize hiring Human Resources and Marketing professionals. Never underestimate the power of having a good reputation and an engaged public. A good social media presence is essential for becoming a successful venture nowadays, always having in mind that is that digital audience the one that is allowing you to grow your business. They are your users! And you have the luck of being able to see firsthand what their thoughts and opinions are about what you are creating. Use this tool wisely and ask yourself: “What does my startup offer a solution to?” and “What and whom are we targeting?”. 

See this as an investment in your company: if you don’t have the correct skills or enough time on your plate, don’t overlook these important areas let a passionate and dedicated professional help you. With a tidy schedule and a clear growth plan and the right people by your side, you will only grow.

Setting priorities from day one: Have you defined your business’ roadmap? What about your mission and values as a company? All of this will help your target find you and connect with your enterprise, making it more human and closer to home. Your users need to feel you are talking directly to them, they need to relate to your product and the story behind it. Write it out in a clear way and showcase it on all your communication channels. Make sure to be relatable to the ones you are talking to.

Biggest Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

  • Choosing to solve a problem they don’t care about

A lot of startups that fail, fail because they lose motivation with their company: they don’t really connect with the problem they were trying to solve. They might have thought it looked cool, or that it was something people might need, but weren’t fully invested in it. There was no deep connection to the problem, so building the solution wasn’t something they were really willing to devote a significant amount of time from their lives long term.

Make sure the problem you are choosing to tackle and the market industry you are entering relate to you in some capacity.

  • Not being clear about the audience you are talking to

If you, as a founder, don’t know whom you are targeting and what their hopes, wishes, preferences aspirations, and problems are, you will have a hard time knowing where to find them, let alone, make them relate to and choose your product. Once you are sure whom you are targeting and have successfully interacted with them, use analytics to measure and analyze the results from your strategy. This will only help you find the best possible path to move forward or create new ones that will take you closer to your users. 

  • Choosing to partner with people you don’t know well

Startups are hard, so it’s nice to have a previous relationship with the people you choose to partner with as cofounders. In this way, you’ll know how they work, think, and make decisions, and therefore know if you are a good match to go through the good and the hard times together.

  • Bad communication

Performance and goals might get muddled with bad communication and a lack of role definition. If you don’t have fully transparent conversations in the workspace, resentment might build up and end up in unnecessary fights. In order to succeed, be clear and be kind, prioritizing empathy and accountability.

  • Not launching

Constantly moving deadlines and aiming for perfection is a form of stage fright some founders experience and exhibit in the last stages before launching. Waiting for the “perfect moment” just because they don’t think they are ready, and they will be judged is a common mistake. The truth is there’s nothing better than the present moment to make an important decision: launching is the starting point and not the finish line. 

Think about the products you use daily: do you remember the day they launched? That moment is no near significant to your users, and it is to you. if you don’t launch your product to the market, you don’t know whether it solves the problem you are aiming to solve, or not. How well is the UX working? What modifications does the interface needs? What feedback your audience is giving you both in person and through social media? All these answers will come to you after having launched. Remember, having a growth mentality requires accountability, and the capacity to take plain truth as your trampoline to propel you forward.

Keep In Mind

Clear communication, accountability, and setting clear goals are important steps. But learning to deal with stress and emotions in a healthy way is even more important.

Remember that resting and prioritizing mental health is also doing something productive for your business! How? Define tasks but be prone to flexibility while doing so. Schedule and organize your priorities, but make sure you are setting apart some free time to spend with your loved ones. Accomplish everything on your to-do list, but invest time and energy in your non-work-related recreational activities to get inspired. 

This balance will nurture your work in ways you don’t even imagine. What replenishes and motivates you? Use that as your daily fuel. That being said, it’s our advice to try to learn from others’ past mistakes to minimize the risks on your way to the top. Digital builders at our core and entrepreneurs at heart, at Rather Labs we love to spread awareness and promote healthy practices in our community.

Macarena López Morillo
Head of People
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