Why do Startups Fail?

1. Not Persevering.

I have seen several startups shut shop and moving on because they just did not have enough game to persevere. I am not trying to ruffle feathers but certain people just get into this thinking that they would be able turn their million dollar ideas- everybody loves their own ideas- into a success by,what else but VC money.
The idea is to persevere by having a sound business model,not rely on some windfall to come your way. Sounds simple,right? It will be hard but it would be worth it. do not give up on your dream. Build it and do not expect it to be a bed of roses.

2. Persevering for far too long sans pivoting.

Well,you took the one tid-bit and ran with it. Stop to listen. This in the startup parlance implies that you need to listen to feedback for the amazing idea that you have persevered and built on. Listen to the feedback,take into consideration your unit economics,set goals and then take a deep breathe. Now,that you have taken stock of the situation,decide,persevere or pivot? Perhaps,it is time to pivot to a model or execution that would make so much more sense to your target customers. Do not be afraid to re-visit the drawing board. Do not fall in love with your idea,so much that you cannot see the truth.

3. Raising Too much money- Scaling too quickly.

You had money coming in your way,so you rubbed your hands in glee and took it all,huh? Inflated valuations,crazy amount of cash being rolled out for startups that are a part of a springing fad business model is what the Indian ecosystem is facing,right about now. Taking in too much money- I am not talking about a buffer amount,I am talking about an abysmal amount at a crazy or not so mad valuation which would force you to show some wow numbers for the sake of it. You will scale operations quickly,we all know the story post that?
You downsize,hand out pink slips and in really bad situations get blacklisted from elite campuses for recruitment or worse,be taken as hostage in your own office. Raise the correct amount and some buffer and do this only if you are scaling. Institutional funds are not for operations. Have a modicum of a revenue model,at least.

4. Not Raising any money.

Do you know why this is a problem? Scale becomes an issue. Startups have one differential and one differential alone,that they do things at lightening fast speed,they can iterate quickly,there are no hierarchies to jump over. All this is wonderful if executed wisely. If you have a PoC and a functioning product,an added plus is a sound business model and income then you are ready to scale. Scaling does not just imply hiring 100+ new employees,scaling in my opinion is increasing the foothold of your product. This might require more employees and that is alright but progress just for the sake of progress must be stopped- said by a lady in a pink bow. (Harry Potter,reference,anyone) 😛

5. Being a sole founder.

Running a startup is hard- I say this way too many times,but it is true. It is as hard as anything else but you wear a lot of hats. It is better to have at least two pairs of hands doing the work. Sharing the load,helps. This is especially important initially,when you are doing so much on your own as you would be bootstrapping and delegation is not something that you can always afford to do. This also comes in handy because then you can have complimentary skills. Real life examples,two co-founders can help each other when you are trying to raise funds,as that can become like a full time job; one techie and another to take care of operations is another example. (A little too close to home,perhaps)

6. Too many chefs spoil the broth.

Do not have a one too many founders. It is difficult in terms of Vision,Distribution of Equity and the overall execution of the product/venture in hand. Do not have too many chefs,the recipe is bound to get screwed.

7. Launching too soon.

Launching without having a business model in place is a recipe for disaster and boy,does that not taste good. Launch with more than just a web page. Have a plan in hand,think old school- making money is the essence of mostly all kinds of businesses. Iterate on your product,find a good market fit,create some raving fans for what you have built and have fun while doing all this.

8.Launching too late.

Please do not be one of those super secretive,I have an idea and people are going to steal it kinds or the perfectionists who must have every bit to the tee. Remember the basics,get an MVP up and humming,listen and implement. Do not sit on anything for too long because execution is always the key,ideas are very cheap,otherwise.

9. Making no money.

This is a bummer for everyone involved. Seems like the most obvious thing,get this right and you are set. There is no flip side to this.

There is no opposing force for the moolah point.

Finding the balance is the key to striking it right and making it big. Do what you feel is right but remember,balance

(This post was originally posted on Medium, Aug 4, 2016)

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