Despite the odds stacked against the success of startups, the allure of the occasional startup success story keeps inspiring other entrepreneurs to try their hands at a high growth business venture. We’ve put together a list of five actions startups should never take in order to have the best odds at having success.
Settle for Less Than A Players – There’s a reason why startups tend to have high turnover rates in their first few years. With limited resources, the need for talented employees is crucial to a startup’s growth and future success. Not only must an employee be hardworking and dedicated but they must also fit in well with the office culture. Often having few employees and a heavy volume of work, finding employees that bring their passion for the vision of the business is not only important – it’s vital. While there may be many skilled candidates, the most promising candidates will be genuinely enthusiastic about the startup’s future and not just landing a new job.
Buy More Than You Can Afford - While it can be tempting to think that your startup needs brand new computers, fancy ergonomic chairs, or modern decorations to function, it probably doesn’t need any of that. In fact, your startup should be focusing on what it’s supposed to be doing first and foremost – growing! Most startups have humble beginnings, launching from home basements, apartment buildings with limited resources and money. If you absolutely don’t need something in order to make your business function on a daily basis, you can most likely put off purchasing it for now – or buy a used version.
Give Into The Hype – Repeat after us. Press does not equal success. While it may be hard to remember this, the success of marketing of a product does not equate the actual quality of the product itself. In 2010, the initial launch followed by a year of slow growth of Pinterest was less than impressive. However, without the distraction of the media, Pinterest was able to quietly refine the popular site to what it is today (Inc.com).
Before considering who will or won’t write about your product or how much “buzz” your startup is generating, concentrate on the actual functionality of the product/service you are creating. Simply start seeing that lack of “buzz” around your startup as time to refine your processes, your product and design. Concentrate on what will bring you revenue, not press.
Give Away Equity Without Getting Something Back – There’s only one reason to even think about giving away equity of your business to someone else. You give equity when what you will have left of your company will be worth more than the whole company was before (PaulGraham.com). Giving away equity should ultimately be a move to add value or smart money to your startup, not to leave it less than it was before. Anyone given equity should have a long-term investment and relationship with the company, which is why the thought of paying employees in equity is never a good idea. The more equity you freely give away, the less control you’ll eventually have over the direction of the business.
Chase After Investors – If you find that you’re spending more time chasing after investors to fund your startup rather than actually working, it might be time to re-evaluate why you began your startup in the first place. Instead of looking for angel investors spend your time actually making your own money first. Even when investors start approaching you, it doesn’t mean that it’s the wisest decision and direction for your business. It’s always best to hold off as long as possible before even considering accepting investors.
Ola Ayeni is the founder of Dining Dialog and eateria.co, a digital loyalty marketing company for restaurants and food service businesses. Dining Dialog is a cutting edge, full service new media marketing company servicing the restaurant, bar and food service industry. eateria™ is a digital loyalty marketing tool that will empower our clients and help them build their customer base by generating repeat business and attracting new business. www.myeateria.com | Find us on Twitter - @eateriadotco| Check out more of Ayeni’s blogging.