The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Startups

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Source: Entrepreneur's Handbook

Any one of these will slowly kill your startup. Tackle these head on at the starting line.

There’s a Warren Buffetism about learning from the mistakes of others, and before him, Eleanor Roosevelt got a lot of retweets on the same topic. I’m going back even further to the late 1800s and the foreign minister of Prussia:

“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

— Otto von Bismarck.

OK, a bit harsh. Are you a fool to learn from your mistakes? No, of course not; that’s what we do every day. But there is something foolish about not learning from others’ mistakes when we have the opportunity to do so.

I’ve seen these deadly mistakes repeatedly and observed how they played out. The good news is they can be avoided with a little upfront work.

The pre-launch order of operations

In short, do your homework.

There’s no such thing as certainty in startups. Unfortunately, this is often used as an excuse to skip the preparatory work that can mitigate (if not prevent) the serious risks ahead. The failures are errors of omission — prerequisites that startups don’t do or don’t do well enough.

Here’s the pre-launch checklist. In the sections below, we’ll see how their absence manifests as a catastrophe, but more importantly, how we can prevent that outcome and give ourselves a better shot at success.

These are roughly sequenced in the order you need to tackle them. Each one is progressively harder — you move up toward the boss level.

  1. Research, Three Ways
  2. Math Homework
  3. Marketing Strategy
  4. Offensive and Defensive Tactics
  5. System Architecture
  6. Operational Prioritization
  7. Brand Consistency

Let’s dive into them. Read the full article here.

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