Last year I started working on my first startup (SlidePick). That was the first time I probably heard the word “startup”…So yeah, I’m not what you could call an “expert” (I don’t even believe in that word).
Starting wasn’t easy. As a new founder there were 4 factors that frightened me the most (and still do) which I thought they could have killed my startup…Or maybe they will.
1. The Co-Founders
I think this is one of the most important decisions that an entrepreneur must take, and usually when we are starting we don’t tend to realize how important it is…If you search any blog or article related about why Startups fail, I can assure you that this will be the reason number one or two in all of them.
I think we all know why this is so important. Your co-founders and yourself are the DNA of your startup, and this works just like the human body, if your DNA have something wrong or it’s incompatible from birth, the natural law says that the most likely is that you will die in no time…In other words, this will kill your startup.
If you are looking for a co-founder to join you on this journey, I can give you one advice which I received from a great entrepreneur (@Max Rencoret),
He told me…
Your Co-Founder must be that person who is, like you, crazy about the problem that you are solving”
2. The Non-Technical founder
So I wanted to start a technological startup, but I didn’t even know what HTML or CSS meant…This was the first excuse to not start sooner, I felt unqualified for the “job”.
You can’t build a software business if you can’t make software.
So I wasted my time, and other people time, crying about it…Until the day that I realized I did not need any of these “aliens knowledge” to start.
If you are the business guy, the visionary, the creative and the innovator, then you need to start acting like one! There are thousand of ways to validate your ideas, from mockups to napkins…Just go out there, talk to your customers and empathize with their problems.
In the validation process you will find technical people who will follow your dreams and passion. But in the mean time don’t lose time bitching about it and start working!
Ps: Anyways is always good to learn coding. I just started a course in Udemy “Coding for entrepreneurs” very basic stuff, but is always good to keep learning new things.
3. Metrics, costs and finances
Numbers are the judges who define if you have a successful startup or a catastrophic failure…Lucky me, who always have struggle in any subject related to numbers.
CAC, Churn, LTV, viral coefficient, etc (Here a very good article to start understanding this). Those are some of the metrics and numbers you must have in mind at every moment and how this numbers are related to your cost structure. That will be the roadmap of your startup and the key metrics to understand your finances…which at the end are the most important pilar of your business.
To be honest, this is something I’m just starting to understand and apply (Huge mistake!). It must be on your startup culture since day one and part of your way of thinking.
It’s never too late to start doing some maths!
4. Founding (Smart Money)
Sooner or later you will have to sit in a room with the “Money guys” and they will want to join your “family”. A bad investor could be as bad as a terrible co-founder…Search for the smart money.
As Joel Gascoigne said, there is two perfect moments to search for founding:
- With just an idea (Not recommended)
- A product with good traction (Recommended)
With a good product under your belt and traction to demonstrate it, all kind of investors will want to “help” you to succeed. This is where you must search for the smart money…What is that, you might be asking? (I learn it today too!)
Cash invested or wagered by those considered to be experienced, well-informed, “in-the-know” or all three. – By Investopedia
This means that your investor, is more than a investor. He must be part of your team, someone who can guide you with his experience and networks, someone who will be a plus in the develop of your business and for you as a entrepreneur.
At the end, building a startup is influenced by infinite factors. Even if you pay extreme attention to each of this 4 possible mistakes you could make, there are many others facts that could change the direction of your startup.
At the end, the most important thing as Richard Branson says…
“Making mistakes is part of the process of building a company; quickly recovering from them is what’s most important. It’s all part of the adventure of entrepreneurship, which will require all of your stamina, drive and determination”
Stay focused, hungry and foolish…
P.S. If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me if you hit the share button and I would love to hear your comments! I would be great to catch up with you and know about your experience! @mati_honorato or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any grammar, spelling or punctuation mistake, please let me know. So I can keep improving my english…my best to all of you!