Top Mistakes to Avoid as a Startup

With the global economic meltdown, many people have begun to put their personal skills into good use as sources of revenue. No one is totally dependent on the government anymore.
So you have invested a lot of time and resources and started your own business. you wait and wait and wait but it seems no one is even noticing your business.
What could you be doing wrong?

Here are some reasons why your startup seems not to grow or attract patronage, read through very carefully.

1. You assume that if you build it people will start rushing in

This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the entrepreneurship world. Most people do not realize that despite the hypocritical cheering from so-called friends and family, most of them will not patronize you when you have finally set up. Nobody wakes up looking for new startups to patronize. You have to earn it the hard way in the midst of countless competitions.

Former Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad said,
“I think people are unprepared for how hard and awful it is going to be to start a company. I certainly was. ”Be patient, don’t expect magic!

You have to learn to be patient, keep focused on the goal. Prove to people that you have something better to offer. It won’t come easy, if not everyone would be doing it. There’s no abracadabra for it.

If your business is at the stage where you have built the framework, but not getting what you want, ask yourself, what do your potential customers want?

That’s the essence of taking courses and seeking guidance from people in the field when starting a business. That was one of the first things I learned in DESIGN THINKING. You have to keep your focus on your customers;

  • what they want
  • how they want it
  • when they need it
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  • What you think they want
  • how you think they want it.
  • when you think they want it

That’s why someone will read a magazine and decide that it’s time to start a fashion business. Or because you hear that people are making it in a particular business you go rushing in, thinking that customers are already waiting for you to just build.

Take your time to plan, consult your potential customers, consult experts in the field. Learn the trends, seek out and avoid common mistakes.

Then be patient and nurture your business.

It took Tesla 18 years to become profitable, don’t give up after two weeks!

2.  Lack of passion and focus

Can you sell a business idea that you do not understand or believe in??
Let’s look at it from the perspective of a ripe young lady, single and actively searching. Her movements change, she swags herself with so much confidence that you begin to believe in her beauty. A girl with low self esteem will bring herself low even before she gets the chance to be seen.

If you start a business just because it is what other people are doing at the time, or because someone said there’s money in it, you may not have the power to withstand the drawbacks when they come. You would be so disappointed when you realize that it is not so rosy as you imagined.

When starting a business;

  • look for something you are interested in
  • Is money your only motivation to want to do this business?
  • Does it excite you to the level where you are ready to fight with everything you got to see it work?

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were asked at an interview to name one secret that led to their success. It wasn’t their mentors or technical skills. It wasn’t their luck. It was Focus.
Sadly focus is one difficult thing to achieve in this day and time.
If you are normal, you can’t sit and focus to save your life. You can’t even read this without thinking. Most people don’t have the attention span to focus for one single minute.

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These people want their assumptions to take care of the hassles. They run away from stress as they have not the focus to sit and think and fix things.
Failed entrepreneurs hide this inability to work and blame the market or people as the cause of their failure. But all it comes down to is a lack of focus.

Sometimes you may have the zeal, but due to the distractions of this age and time, you are unable to focus on anything for long. In this case when issues arise the person gives up easily without giving it a fight, they do not see challenges as an opportunity to develop and grow.

If you are having this challenge try talking to an expert. Find a mentor. Nobody has been here before. Don’t take the chance of learning when you have fallen into the pit, learn from the mistakes of others, follow the guidance of those who have passed the pit.

3. Founders without (relevant) technical training

There is one thing every startup should know; you were never the first to think of that idea even though you might be coming at it from a different approach. A lot of people have succeeded in establishing empires based on the same idea. Learn from them, get relevant technical understanding of your business idea.

These days companies send their best employees abroad to;

  • go learn what other companies are doing right
  • see things from other perspectives
  • think without the pressure of the current environment.

Many others sponsor trainings for their staff to improve service delivery and employee self development.

You might say, this is for established companies alone.


Your founding team has to comprise people with the skills that can deliver with minimum external input. In a case where your business is a one-man-show, it falls to you to go acquire all the necessary skills to be bale to hold against the storm.

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Knowledge is power, do not go into any business unarmed with that power!

4. Good Idea, Bad execution, Bad team

Bad eggs, they do the most damage.
Don’t go sharing your ideas with just anyone. Start with yourself, share it to yourself, know it, breath it, see it. Let it consume your very being to the extent where no one can dissuade you.
Also, never give people a chance to tell you mind-killing words like;
It’s not ideal
You can’t do it
Others have failed, what makes you think you can do it?
Look for people who might be genuinely interested and capable of supporting or partnering with you.

The founders of Standout Jobs wrote in their post-mortem, “…The founding team couldn’t build an MVP on its own. That was a mistake. If the founding team can’t put out product on its own (or with a small amount of external help from freelancers) they shouldn’t be founding a startup.”

And don’t work with people who are not in total agreement with your idea. You can’t;

  • manage someone without the relevant zeal for your kind of business idea. People with zeal can learn and adapt, they can achieve results.
  • overlook skills.
  • call someone into your team because of sentiments
  • be biased when choosing your team members

Can two work together unless they agree?

5. Fear of Competition

It would amount to foolishness to think that any idea you have is unique to you alone. Thousands of other people out there are thinking the same, if not better.

You have to prepare your mind for this, to face competition;

  • learn how to fail like a winner, because real winners never fail!
  • learn how to rise stronger when you have fallen
  • learn from your competitors

Don’t be intimidated, do not lose focus. Let competition be an advantage to you.


It took Tesla 18 years to become profitable, don’t give up after two weeks!

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