It takes a lot of courage, diligence, and keen optimism to found a startup. Sure there are plenty of amazing success stories, with fascinating tales of unicorns inspiring tech savvy folks the world over. But, there are also heaps of not so great stories. In fact, for every unicorn we read about, there are probably a hundred or more heart wrenching situations involving bold startup founders who lost everything. We tend not to hear as much about those cases because well they are depressing and discouraging, and our economy thrives on the success of those who are ambitious and innovative.
Now, it’s probably no secret that there is no secret to success, and most leaders would likely tell you that it primarily takes hard work and unwavering determination to make it big. That obviously isn’t the most groundbreaking or useful bit of advice, and sometimes telling someone what they should do is not quite as helpful as telling someone the things they should not do. In light of that, here are the two main reasons startups frequently flounder and some tips on not succumbing to such a fate.
Pulling the Trigger Prematurely
Starting a business, especially if it means venturing out on your own for the first time, is both exciting and daunting. For some people, there is the thrill of being your own boss and making your own rules, whereas for others, there is a passion and vision to achieve something specific. Irrespective of what it is that drives you to forge a new path, it is important to proceed with a healthy amount of caution. If you are already planning to open offices in new locations before establishing a solid operation at the headquarters, you may be getting ahead of yourself. It is understandably tempting to get things going as soon as possible, but pulling the trigger prematurely can be disastrous. You can’t exactly run a business if you don’t even have a fully functional business in existence.
Of course, this includes both the operational and financial facets of the venture. In many cases, it’s hard to have one without the other anyway. Ultimately, you have to carefully evaluate all relevant capital, monetarily speaking of course, but also human, social, and natural, as well as your operational capacity before charging full steam ahead.
SecureDocs Tip: Make sure all of your ducks are in a row before official launch. This includes executing and filing any necessary paperwork, legal or otherwise; preparing and analyzing all pertinent financial and accounting information; and ideally, organizing all such information in an online corporate repository to ensure safe and effective recordkeeping.
Trying to Do Too Much Too Soon and Losing Sight of What Matters
Okay, so assuming that you have done your homework, drafted and saved all important documentation, and are financially viable, you now have the awesome task of running the business. This part can be a bit harder to prepare for, as unforeseeable issues and challenges are bound to arise. Sometimes you will be making snap decisions with long term consequences. There may be appealing new avenues to pursue, which may or may not align well with your initial objectives.
At this juncture, leaders often become overwhelmed by the many opportunities that present themselves. The problem, of course, is losing sight of what got you to that point in the first place. Maybe you initially sought to develop some new software or medical device that would help transform the health care industry, or you wanted to create an app that streamlines payroll processes for small businesses. The what doesn’t quite matter as much as the how and why, and if you forget about the original mission, then you run the risk of veering completely off course. Granted, this may eventually work out in the end, but it is far more likely to spell your demise.
SecureDocs Tip: Know what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it, and always remember that when making decisions and planning for the future. There is always room for flexibility and adaptation, but the key to success for many startups has been remaining committed to their original vision.