5 Mistakes that could be killing your Start-Up


Start-ups fail all the time. Interestingly, most failures boil down to a few core root causes. Keep your eyes and ears open and know what to lookout for and you may just be able to sidestep some of the risks other entrepreneurs have fallen prey to.

  1. With start-ups, timing it wrong

‘When’ you choose to launch your business is almost as important as what you are selling. Start-ups are often plagued by delayed launches that can result in lost business. Remember, you may never be 100% ready, so don’t wait to launch. In some cases, going slow can mean competition edges you out and moves in to capture the market you have worked so hard to build the perfect product for.

Ensure that the enhancements you are working on are providing real value for the customer. It is possible that you’re racking up costs of a delayed launch to build features that don’t add much to the experience of a user.

Launch too soon, before you’re fully ready and you may get a slew of bad reviews that can kill your reputation in the market. Offer your early adopters a version of the product that represents the core functionality (or from their perspective the core benefit), even if some of the frills are missing. They will give you some leeway for error, but don’t push your luck with a half baked product.

  1. Thinking small

A good start-up will typically have a mix of people who dream and think big and those who are grounded in reality. This ensures the business moves forward, is ambitious, but within reason. Not having dreamers in the equation will guarantee that the start-up stays small, because there isn’t anyone who can see the big leap to the next level. And without that vision, the jump may never happen.

  1. Trying to DIY and other hiring fiascos

While you may want to be a one-man army, a start-up needs a team. It is important to recognise when you need specialist help. For instance, with legal matters or financials, so many start-ups go wrong by trying to simply wing it. It is also well worth the extra bucks to hire a great support team to run your finance and admin functions for you.

Many start-ups err on hiring talent. Working in a start-up means you are in a company, which is agile and innovates. Team members need to be ready to put in the hard work and cope with the demands that come their way.

  1. Not being agile enough, or being too agile!

By its very nature a start-up with a smaller team size, with innovation at its core, and closely connects with its customers should be more agile. Not leveraging this agility to course correct and adapt the offering based on customer or market feedback is an opportunity lost. Make sure you don’t have too many co-founders. It dilutes the control and makes decision making that much harder and slower.

Equally, some start-up founders are guilty of pivoting far too often. Every piece of feedback does not need to be used to turn the product or service offering on its head. Instead, prudent entrepreneurs know that every bit of advice or customer inputs they get must be heard out, but that ultimately the decision on what to do with that information must be internal and true to the core strategy.

  1. Not listening to the customer

Knowing whom your customer is, studying the data and actually talking to them and getting their take is crucial for any start-up. You may have set out to solve a certain perceived problem, but the solution you offer may need to be tweaked to address the root problem. Be sure you are fixing the problem and not just muting a symptom for them. The only way you can truly discover this is by listening.

Have you taken the time to think about other pitfalls?
Do you consult other professionals to help you with your start-up?

And that’s the Dish!  Until next time, Belinda

Belinda Bow

I am Belinda Bow

I love all things marketing and I thrive on seeing a business become re-energised and flourish. I am excited about life and I adore my family.

Within these articles, you’ll find some helpful tips and some real guidance to help you make the most of your business, and gain a good understanding of all things marketing.


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