Common Mistakes By Early Stage Startups

Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering(RVCE) organized “Lost Stories” as part of the E-Cell Summit on 24th February, 2018. Three startup founders were invited to share about the hardships faced by them in their journey and the common mistakes made by early stage startups. Mr. Vinay Dora, founder of Crowd Product, was also a speaker at the event, attended mostly by millenials and future entrepreneurs.

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Although each of the speakers had their own story of how they overcame hardships and the mistakes made by them, all of them agreed on the following points unanimously. Startups have limited resources, it is very important to draw up a plan and focus on the stuff that gives long term benefits. These are the most common mistakes any aspiring entrepreneurs should avoid, no matter whichever sector they are starting up in.

  1. Product vs Team: It is a very common mistake made by novice entrepreneurs. Often, the focus is on team in the early stages, rather than a product that will be loved by the masses. Investing in a great team is important, but not at the cost of developing a kickass product !
  2. Finding the Right Co-Founder: It is very important to find a co-founder that matches the aspirations, passion and the goals of the founder to a certain extent. Also, a right co-founder brings different approaches and skill set on the table, which is necessary for scaling the business.
  3. Investor vs Customers: Most of the novice entrepreneurs focus on ‘funding’, rather than focusing on the biggest investor out there — paying customers ! Yes, funding is necessary, but before that there should a strong base of paying customers. This will further validate an investor to close a funding round !
  4. Maintaining focus: This is perhaps the most important of all advises. Entrepreneurs have to retain their focus on the problem they are solving. There will be ups and downs in the journey of entrepreneurship — but that should not deter the entrepreneur in any way. This brings us to the next point…
  5. Dealing with failure: Let us face it: entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. The number of rejections faced by any entrepreneur is much greater than his/her success stories. Not being disheartened by failure over and over again is one of the biggest traits of a successful entrepreneur. Remember, Rome was not built in a day !
  6. Money Management: So after launching a successful product and getting funded, and months or years of investor pitches, finally the day comes when a startup gets funded ! Many entrepreneurs think of it as the biggest success in their entrepreneurial journey. Alas, they cant be more wrong ! Getting funded is actually the start of the journey. The main hustle starts after getting funded — scaling the startup, hiring talent, achieving investor deadlines and improving the product. So money management becomes the need of the hour.
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Starting up sounds cool, doesn't it ? The idea of being your own boss, working your own hours and then collecting that big paycheck at the end of the month — sounds like the perfect life ! However, an entrepreneurs journey is filled with hardships, rejections and mistakes. It takes a lot of mettle to hold on there and hustle till the very end to make your idea work, and in the process build an empire !

-Shibangsh Chowdhury

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