5 Mistakes That Can Kill Startups

Image via Flickr by Nguyen Vu Hung

Looking to launch a startup? Here are five mistakes to stay clear of to keep your business from crashing and burning.

Not Planning is Planning to Fail

Any new startup that’s about to launch should have a well-written plan in place with goals that are expected to be achieved. By not making a plan for your startup, you’re planning to fail.

You have created that great idea, and now you need to come up with some realistic goals and expectations that you plan to meet in order to achieve success in the future. Setting goals is hard but imperative when it comes to defining what your startup is working toward.

Without a clear definition, it’ll be harder to determine when something is going wrong or when you need to say no to something. When setting goals for your startup, use the S.M.A.R.T. goals technique. This will help you to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

No Money Means No Go for Launch

Besides having a great idea, one of the most important things you need before launching a startup is money. One of the biggest mistakes people make is launching their startups without having gathered a substantial amount of capital to fuel their company.

Launching a startup is risky business and it’s not something you want to be doing with a questionable amount of money in the bank. The question you’re probably asking yourself is: How much is enough? Well, every startup is different and will require a different amount.

So, the answer to your question is that you need to make sure you have enough money to reach your goals that are planned for the next few months until it’s time to raise money again. You don’t want to have an overabundance of cash; just enough to get you to your goals and then some extra in case an emergency comes up.

Not Hiring Carefully

Another common mistake made that not only affects you and your startup but others is hiring too many employees or hiring employees before you can afford to. In the beginning process, startups may experience a sudden burst of revenue that sometimes leads to a hiring spree, but most of the time your startup can’t afford more employees.

It would be wise to wait until the revenue stabilizes, and then you can contemplate the possibility of hiring more employees. People also wonder when the right time to start hiring employees is. Some startups can be tested with just one or two people running it, but others might not.

Make sure your startup is well staffed if needed for it to function successfully, but don’t be afraid to hire employees and let them know you expect them to wear many hats in the beginning stages of your company.

Failing to Create Web Presence

This is a new one for startups that became of great importance within the past couple of years. There is no way you can expect your startup to gain any ground with no website giving it a presence on the web. A website, blog and social media presence will help expose your company to potential customers.

While having a sound social media strategy is important in a startup’s visibility to engage an audience, engagement is only as good as the content it’s promoting. One of the best and most efficient ways to create content for your audience is through blogging. A healthy blog strategy can do wonders for building an audience and generating buzz for your startup. Check out WHSR’s Blogging 101 guide for some great resources to get started with your blog strategy.

Not Listening to Your Customers’ Needs

When your startup does gain a loyal group of customers, you can’t forget to listen to them. They are essentially what is driving your company. You need your startup to bring in money, and the best way to do that is to listen in order to understand the needs of your customers. Their point of view is different, but still very important to the growth of your startup.

To get this information from your customers, you might want to make it easy for customers to get in contact with you, or you could always reach out to them with things like a survey. The importance of communicating with customers cannot be stressed enough. The success of your startup depends on it.

Miles Young
Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer and business columnist, and a contributing author for the 'corePHP' blog. Business technology news, views and insights.