Five Common Mistakes Founders Make All Too Often

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When trying to explain to friends what does it feel to be a founder of a startup I often say “it’s okay” because it’s too overwhelming even to start to explain all the fears I am dealing with in my day to day life. In lack of better words, I’d like to quote here a definition of “being a founder” I came across a couple of months ago:

“Very tough to sleep most nights of the week. Weekends don’t mean anything to you anymore. Closing a round of financing is not a relief. It means more people depend on you to turn their investment into twenty times what they gave you.” by Paul deJoe.

While no one really shouts in your face that being a founder is an easy task, people simply fail to explain all the ups and downs that can happen and that’s normal, because neither of us takes it the same why.

And, since this is the case, more often than not we choose to just listen to other people’s stories trying not to engage too much and trying to keep a safe distance since “there’s not a universal formula” on how to behave as a founder and make your business life easier.

You get up; you do the best you can. There is a certain temptation to prioritize all the choices over decisions and find the best way to structure your team.

No matter how different we can be and no matter all the angles one story might have. Still some similarities exist and hint: it’s not just fear of failure.

Here are some of the common mistakes that founders are easy to fall into and that should be avoided:

Common Mistakes Founders Make #1 – Micromanaging

Five Common Mistakes Founders Make All Too Often - Featured - Micromanage

In the early stages of your business (and if not cured in the later ones too) you may feel the great pressure that the things are slipping out of your hands. Also, you may feel that most of the tasks you can do better than your subordinates – which may but does not have to be true.

Either way, micromanaging your employees is a bit like raising a child. You think that you have the grip of it and that you have all the strings in your hands, but you don’t.

There are numerous things that just happen  —  so you would want your staff not to be completely dependent on you. You will want them to express their opinion and offer solutions. You would want not to have to micro-manage anyone and that everyone does what they are paid for and what they are best at.

Although micro-managing can be a tough nut to crack, it’s worth it.

Common Mistakes Founders Make #2 – Faking Success With Busy Work

Many business owners fake their business’ success with busy work. They hop on numerous calls, delegate too soon or too late, network, tweet and go events: but is it really a business?

I know being a number geek can be rather hard – especially the part seeing your traffic not going up or your conversions going down – but it’s a must.

Being transparent about your business proved to be an extremely helpful for the founders who are not focused on measuring their results. Coming clean and open about your incomes, ways of doing business and internal steps will make you sit down once or twice a month and while tackling the guest post go through the numbers again.

You have to measure your results, because, more often than not, those who don’t measure their positions, keywords, conversions, traffic end up stumbling in the fog and not having the clear vision where they want the business to go.

However, you can’t indulge into thinking that a guest post, pet project, networking event or Twitter exchange are moving your business forward as an actual, tangible, moving work. Perhaps they are – but only to some extent. You need to do so much more.

It’s called procrastination, but it’s masked as “work”. Real business progress is visible when you decide to put down numbers and see where you are at.

Do not be after small things that will keep you business rolling, do not be after a quick launch every two or three months and indulge into quality and prime development of your business.

Try Task Pigeon Today!

It's the straightforward task management tool for teams who want to get things done!

Common Mistakes Founders Make #3 – Chasing the competition

Five Common Mistakes Founders Make All Too Often - Chasing Competition

No matter what they say, you have to remember that the competition does not matter. Learn that by heart or do whatever you need to do to remember it and live by it. My main competitor, Trello, was for example recently acquired by Atlassian.

If you’re genuinely building something that is solving a problem of your customers the thing you have to look at is: your customers not your competition.

On your priority list, put more focus on problems you will be solving for your customers and put what your competition is doing at the bottom unless it inspires you to do more out of your business.

Common Mistakes Founders Make #4 – Charging Too Little

Do not forget about the money you paid for your lunch, coffee, salaries, code review, error monitoring, all the new subscription for all the tools you need and what not when you are placing a price for your product.

If your solution is saving your customers $1k or $10k – would you still keep the price of it at $39/mo?

After all, it is almost certain that you’d prefer to have 1 000 customers that are paying $100/mo than 10 000 customers that are paying $10/mo.

Common Mistakes Founders Make #5 – Not talking with clients

Five Common Mistakes Founders Make All Too Often - Talking To Customers

Not talking to customers is perhaps the biggest mistake founders make.

Try to schedule as many calls as you can and listen to their feedback and suggestions.

Now, apart from acquiring new clients and guiding the new ones through your platform, it is also very important that you check back in with your old customers once or twice a year.

Turn the first customers and the older ones into the ambassadors of your brand and offer them special offers, because, in the end, those are the early birds who believed in your product first and most likely audience for the best referrals.

Final words

As long as we work, we keep forgetting that relationships and trust make all the difference between an average business and a successful business.

After all, it’s the mirror of your working culture, your ideals and what you believe it’s important.

Try Task Pigeon Today!

It's the straightforward task management tool for teams who want to get things done!

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About Author

Mike Thatcher

Mike Thatcher is a Digital Ninja and entrepreneur with a years' long experience. Digital nomad by the place of residence, he is passionate about entrepreneurship and leading small businesses and startups. His current focus is helping businesses create better growth systems through Jobrack, the remote job board.