Chasing investors instead of customers is the most common way startups destroy themselves. It is a perfectly avoidable path to destruction.
Over 600,000 companies go out of business every year in the US alone. Infant Entrepreneur Mortality is a massive problem. Here are 10 avoidable mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make repeatedly:
1. They define success = funding.
2. They do not know the essential techniques of bootstrapping.
3. They don't understand positioning.
4. They spend money on unimportant things and run out of cash.
5. They hire too many people too soon without validating.
6. They start building a product without validating.
7. They chase investors instead of customers.
8. They network randomly, without focus.
9. They talk to investors too soon, and blow important cartridges.
10. They don't focus on the business model and path to monetization.
Avoid them at all costs.
You cannot succeed without first surviving.
I've never met an entrepreneur who has built a billion dollar business without first building a million dollar one!
Do your homework. Here's a self-assessment tool to calibrate your business the way investors would. Whether or not you are raising money, think of yourself as an investor in your own business, and test yourself against these issues.
Do not waste money getting fancy office-space and furniture.
Entrepreneurship = (Customers + Revenues + Profits).
Financing is optional.
Exit is optional.
Success is a sustainable, profitable business that meets customer needs.
Photo credit: Engin Erdogan/Flickr.com.