5 Mistakes Successful Startups Avoid

successful startups

In the fast-spinning and unpredictable business world, there are some common mistakes startups make.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50 percent of the small businesses fail within the first five years.

Your new business venture is more like a journey where you go along a rocky road filled with landmines — one wrong step and you’re out.

Beginning stages are exciting, but then the majority of these blunders are made in early days.

Regardless of the nature of the business, some mistakes are inevitable. However, we all know that it’s never too late to correct the error. Right? So let’s have a look at five mistakes that new entrepreneurs generally make.

1. Failing to Record Cash Flow

For your new business, cash is king! It is important to know where and how your money is being used, because untracked finances can lead to devastating situations where you’ll run out of money.

  • First things first, have a budget (a financial plan), which should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. Figure out the right burn rate by getting an accounting system or hire a dedicated resource. This will help you in making realistic forecasts about how far your current finances will go, so you can plan ahead easily.
  • Don’t count on the initial revenue from clients as profit. Keep in mind the unanticipated costs as well as monthly overhead and taxes.
  • Your financial plan and reports are not one-time job. These need to be reviewed, updated and used regularly. It’s worthwhile.

2. Neglecting IP Protection

Don’t overlook the value of intellectual property, as it can cost you a significant amount of potential income. How? Here’s an example — suppose you invented a product and developed it, but didn’t patent it.

Others in the market copied your product and your customers started moving to them. Certainly, this would create a drop in your business.

To save your unique product or service from infringement, take steps like:

  • Getting a patent
  • Obtaining appropriate copyright, trademarks or service marks
  • Requiring confidentiality agreements signings

Consulting a patent attorney can help you in dealing legal filing and other issues.

3. Telling the Wrong Story

Storytelling is a big deal — yes it is! A great story is not just about how two individuals met and founded the company — it is about these three elements:

  • The market need that you and your product is addressing
  • Keeping your target audience in front
  • What makes you stand out of the crowd

Incorporating these points into your story can help you make the right pitch.

4. Forgetting to Embrace Agility

Nothing is set in stone. Your approach toward your startup makes a lot of difference to its success. While it’s essential to have goals and a vision of how to achieve those goals, you need to be open-minded and flexible in your approach. So practice analysis, adaptation and refinement.

A classic example would be that of a cheetah. This animal can accelerate, decelerate and can even change its direction in the blink of an eye. You need to act like this. Be responsive to the changing needs and demands of your company, employees and clients in order to keep your business fit.

5. Competing on Features

Understanding the end users, you’ve built a great product or service, but if you’re selling it by highlighting its features, then you’re making a big mistake.

Users don’t opt for a product purely on the basis of features; they are more concerned about getting the job done satisfactorily  — the end result. Competing on features will only make you lose your core focus, and you’ll be lost in the crowd.

The biggest example of this is Flickr and Facebook. While Flickr originally focused on the quality of photos, it shifted its focus to conversations and tagging, copying Facebook’s features. Despite being the first mover, Flickr forced itself to compete with Facebook and became less relevant.

Don’t let these mistakes paralyze your dream business. Beat the odds, and build a rewarding and thriving venture. Share your thoughts with us on this!

(Photo by Benjamin Child / CC BY)

Kanika Sharma works as a writer at ProofHub. For the past two years, she has been writing for various technology blogs. Being an engineering graduate, her background allows her to connect with cutting-edge technologies and relate them with real world scenarios. She also likes to think and pen down her thoughts on various facets of life. When she is not writing, she can be found in the abode of Himalayas, as exploring nature excites her the most. She is an early riser and loves to bask in the morning sun rays. Kanika also enjoys sketching, cooking, dancing and spending time with her family and folks. Her future plans include joining a writing community, a vacation in Paris and riding a white horse. Follow Kanika on Twitter to know more about her.


  1. Connor Ondriska on the 25th June

    I think #5 is huge.

    Companies have a tendency to talk about everything the product/service does or can do… Not what it can do FOR the client.

    The major thing to do, is recognize your USP in regards to which problems for your client you are solving. Understand their pain points and how you are going to make their life better.

    Combine that with honesty, integrity, transparency and great client service… This is how many companies are able to grow very quickly, without putting huge money towards advertising.

    Build your story, get people talking.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing.

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