THE 10 COMMON MISTAKES STARTUPS AND SMALL COMPANIES MAKE
Creating and growing a successful start‐up is challenging enough without making “rookie mistakes” that can slow you down or knock you out of the game altogether. Blogger David Lavenda, of “Fast Company,” notes that start‐ups have “small margins for error” and offers this list of 10 common mistakes:
1. “Drinking Your Own Kool‐Aid” — Overestimating the enthusiasm for your product/service — thinking it is
more special than your customers perceive.
2. Not Validating Market Demand – Thinking that your product/service is a “winner” before making sure you
get a solid base of people who agree
3. Starting to Work with Customers Too Late — Only engaging with customers when the product/service is
ready for sale.
4. Underestimating the Difficulty in Penetrating the Market — Not expending enough effort to reach
customers and to get them to try the product/service.
5. Overestimating the Product/Service’s Uniqueness — Related to “drinking your own Kool‐Aid,” this refers to
not taking competition into account.
6. Underestimating the Effort Needed to Build the Product/Service — Start‐ups are notorious for promising
to get to market and then disappointing.
7. Hiring the Wrong Kind of People — Hiring “big‐company types” who are used to having a support staff to
help them do their work.
8. Not Focusing ‐ Being tempted by side projects and spreading yourself too thin to focus on developing your
company’s main value proposition.
9. Not Pricing Correctly — Under‐ or over‐pricing the product/service may inhibit adoption.
10. Not Having a Long‐term Vision That Scales — Having a “one‐trick pony” that does not lead to future sales.
In the entrepreneurial spirit of “under‐promise and over‐deliver,” here are two more mistakes young
11. Never Finishing the Product — The “never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over”
syndrome. Constantly re‐doing the product/service but never finishing it.
12. Not Offering Employees Enough Fun — Sadly, a common quality of many start‐ups — despite what you