That question is impossible to answer. Put simply, if we knew what mistakes caused failure, we could easily avoid them. It’s like asking what makes a startup succeed. If there was a recipe for definite success, we’d all follow it and build great companies, right?
Starting a business is easy and anyone can do it. However, building a company is exceptionally difficult. Although no one can guarantee success, here are few mistakes you should avoid early on:
- Make Something People Don’t Want
This seems rather obvious, but it can be difficult to see as an entrepreneur. Make something people want or need. Often entrepreneurs get a seemingly great idea for a business as a result of a personal experience. The problem is, while the idea seems great for the entrepreneur, if enough people don’t have similar experiences/problems, they won’t see the value or need the service.
That said, the best startups are usually the ones that were built upon off their founder’s problems. These problems are often not easily recognizable to the broader market, but they are indeed shared by many. This is not the rule, but the problems you know and understand the most are those that you have experienced firsthand. Hotmail was founded because Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith couldn’t exchange email at work, Apple because Steve Wozniak wanted a computer, Google because Larry and Sergey couldn’t find what they wanted online.
Where can you get ideas? You can imitate an existing company, but, if you really want to succeed, entrepreneurs should dig into some specific unsolved problem they identify with. The problem may be small, but also it may be suitable for a specific market niche.
So how do you know your idea will be well received by the market? Ask. Ask as many people as you can. Friends, family, potential customers, anyone who will listen. People are often afraid to ask about their idea for fear that someone will try to steal it. This is a common mistake and one that can be easily avoided.
- Not Knowing Your Target Customer
One of the first thing investors will be interested in is your average customer. You must be able to describe their story, what they do, how do they spend their time, what kind of places they often visit, and most importantly, what is the problem your product is going to solve for them. This may again seem obvious, but if you’re not able to pinpoint your average target customer and why they need or want your product/service, you’re most likely on the wrong track.
If you want to know what’s behind DocDep story, read our CEO’s experience and career road which eventually lead to founding DocDep.