Screwing up from time to time is part of the entrepreneurial process--but not all mistakes are created equal.
By Ilya Pozin July 11, 2013

Entrepreneurship, at its best, is synonymous with learning. Don’t let the overnight success stories fool you. The more common story looks like this: test a product, fail, retest, and improve. Mistakes are a crucial part of this process.

Of course, not all mistakes are productive. Throughout my years in the start-up community, I’ve witnessed entrepreneurs make some of the same counterproductive mistakes again and again. And hey, I’ve made my share of them too.

Here are nine of the most common–and easiest to avoid:

1. Trusting your gut, rather than getting validation for your idea.

Your business idea may seem like a profitable game-changer, but without validation you may be setting yourself up for failure. Before you invest any time or money into your idea, spend time testing it. Consult with experts from the start-up community and get your product idea in front of potential customers so that you can learn–and adapt–based on their feedback.

2. Not getting your business to market fast enough.

Far too many business ideas fail due to a slow launch, which needs to be both stealthy and strategic to be successful. Don’t spend ages building out your idea and features. Instead, build out your most valuable product, release it, and see how people react to it. In the end, it’s important not to overbuild, because features alone don’t make start-ups successful.

3. Not knowing when to pivot.

Through your early validation efforts, you’re likely to gain feedback that you didn’t anticipate. Rather than throwing in the towel or ignoring what you’ve learned altogether, this should inspire you to change your business model to prevent failure. Many successful business ventures have come through calculating a new route.

 


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