#1: Not testing your ideas sufficiently
Your start-up is doing well, and you are optimistic about future prospects. In this bubble of optimism, it is easy to overlook potential risks and make snap decisions. Any hasty decision backed by limited information will back-fire.
Take intelligent risks by trying to see what others do not. Don’t hesitate to take contrarian views and test them. If the results confirm your hypothesis, you learn something; if they don’t support your hypothesis, you still learn something.
In the context of the product, testing ideas through ready prototypes is critical. Customers will be more willing to provide honest feedback on a rough mock-up than a ready/near-ready product. Even if that decision is operations-based, the extra time spent investigating and testing will pay off.
#2: Penny pinching on infrastructure and services
A poor or weak infrastructure will hit your product hard. When your product starts getting traction, you need to go with all guns blazing and ensure that employees bring their A-game. This will be impossible if you don’t upgrade your infrastructure, automate repetitive tasks, and engage service providers who keep the non-core/administrative side running so you can focus on product and sales.
For a great user-experience or satisfactory client experiences, you need to empower your business processes and employees with robust systems and productivity tools. A good balance between cost and quality can be achieved by brainstorming on infrastructure enhancements and reviewing service providers at an early stage, to give yourself enough time for informed decisions. Going the cheapest route isn’t always the optimal decision for your company.
#3: Not having a tightly focused vision
Trying to do too much at once or trying to do it all will result in a burn-out and possibly trap you in a Jack of all trades, master of none situation. Focus on your specialty, something that differentiates you, or a service/suite of services you excel in. If you spot opportunities that don’t fit the vision, ignore them and work on what you know you can deliver best.
#4: Not acquiring talent early on
As their business scale up, founders will need to start delegating responsibilities to employees. A talent shortage or unmotivated employees will be detrimental to growth and put unnecessary stress on senior executives/founders.
Attract and retain talent through appropriate incentives, team-building activities, professional development, and other strategies. A satisfied team will be more willing to take on responsibilities and contribute to firm-building beyond their defined job responsibilities.
#5: Overlooking negative feedback
When your product/service takes off, and sales and good reviews come pouring in, you may tend to overlook the negative ratings as you may be too focused on expanding or improving the offerings of your current product. This attitude is not conducive to the long-term quality and competitiveness of your product/service.
Filter the negative feedback and determine what more you can do to appease customers who’re not yet convinced about the value of your product. Use these insights to continually improve your product and convert customers to brand advocates.