How to Build a Startup That Won’t Fail

Brocoders team will tell you about 7 mistakes that will make your project die
Fri Dec 23 2016
how-to-build-a-startup-that-won-t-fail

Every person at least once in his life had an idea of launching his own business. Newly-made entrepreneurs are so inspired by an astonishing success of Facebook and AirBnB, but the reality is far less optimistic. There is no accurate statistics, but most of analytics agree on the fact that about 90% of startups die at their initial stage. Unfortunately, in our own practice we have had lots of projects with, we should admit, brilliant ideas, that failed. Why? How to get to the lucky 10% whose ideas will make their founder famous and rich? Here are top 7 mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Raw business idea

You should realize once and for all that no one but you should outline your business model. There are some tips which are widely known by every person, but strangely, they are neglected by the majority of entrepreneurs:

  • Write an executive summary (here is an example of how to write an Executive summary)
  • Build a business model canvas.
  • Analyze your competitors: decide what you can learn from their experience and how you can improve the services that already exist (bare in mind that just a better design is not a core advantage!).

Mistake #2: Lack of market-proof analysis

We’d also like to stress out is that you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about your idea. Don’t think that if you share your idea with someone else this person will steal it. On the contrary, during a good discussion with others, you will get their advice, critics and your project will only benefit from it.

And the last, but not least: try to find real flesh-and-blood customers; not some of your relatives and friends, they will never tell you the truth just because they care too much about you and they can’t be objective. Find some other people instead, someone who will not be biased. Here is how Robin Chase, Co-Founder of Zipcar explains why their startup failed:

“We built the web-site first and asked our customers about it later.”

And then she adds what they’ve concluded from it:

“Get to your customers as fast as possible & learn from them to build your product.”

Think of all these tasks as your “home task” that you should do before you start to develop your project. If you don’t do it, there are far more chances that your startup will fail.

Mistake #3: Little involvement into the project

You can compare the development of the project with an upbringing of a child. Any educator will tell you that only when you pay all your attention to your kid he will grow up as a decent person. The same approach should be applied to the project. You shouldn’t shift the responsibility of making a decision on the manager’s shoulders. You are the only person who knows what will be better for your “child”. Therefore, the process of development requires your full dedication. Having decided to start your own business you should be ready that it will take the lion’s share of your time and efforts.

The majority of the development companies do their best to fully cooperate with their customers. This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be neglected. For instance, in our company we encourage our clients to monitor the process of development whenever they want, and more to this, we organize weekly demo-days, when they can check the results, give a feedback and show the product the targeted audience.

We highly recommend you to test your project as often as it’s possible. Such approach will help you make timely changes to the project.

Be ready to cooperate with the developers, tell them about all your successes and failures. They should realize that all of you are doing one big thing. In that way, they will feel that they are fully involved into the process. Don’t miss any information that comes from your developers and try to help them with any issue if it’s necessary.

Mistake #4: Underestimated value of documentation

The most important thing that we always try to bring to our customers is that documentation is vital if you want to get a high-quality product. Bare in mind that a simple mockup is a required minimum, but, of course, the more detailed documentation is, the easier it is for the developers to estimate your project.

Firstly, prototyping helps you look at your project from the client’s point of view, click through pages, understand the user workflow. Additionally, when you have a prototype, you can already show it to your potential investors and customers.

Prototyping is also necessary for the developers in order to realize how your project will work, what technologies will be the best choice as well as give you an accurate time and budget estimation.

There are various tools for developing low- and high-fidelity prototypes. For example, there are such tools as Mockingbird, Balsamiq and UXPin.

Here is an example of how a high-fidelity prototype designed in UXPin looks like:

It’s just up to you to decide what will be the best variant for your project.

Mistake #5: Too many features at the initial stage

Many newly-made entrepreneurs behave like teenagers with their youthful enthusiasm. They want to implement as many features as they can think of, without even having properly tested their idea. When you develop a new product there is no need to fill it with all possible characteristics. It’s much better to start from an MVP and concentrate on the core features that you described in the executive summary. Don’t add an additional feature just because one user wants to have it, rely on the point of view of the majority of users.

Let’s consider a simple example: how many features implemented by Facebook do you use every day? 20%? 30%? Of course, such large company as Facebook can afford itself some luxuries, but for you at the initial stage of the development, it’s definitely not what you should concentrate on. Remember the Pareto principle that says that 80% of the effects come only from 20% of the cases, in other words, only 20% of the features implemented by you will be interesting for the most of your customers.

Mistake #6: Make 100% copycats

Have you ever thought why Facebook or Twitter have become so popular? The answer is that they have brought completely innovative solutions of the existing problems. Of course, ideally your startup should be completely original, but let’s be realistic, nowadays it’s almost impossible to come up with a revolutionary idea (unless you invent an AIDS vaccine or something similar to this). That’s is why the most common way is to improve the services that already exist.

At the same time, there is no need to simply duplicate the same service in the same market. It is an idea that is doomed to fail. Make a research instead, try to find out what people really need, what problems they have and how you can help them solve these problems, what they lack in the existing services, analyse your competitors, try to find as much information about them as you can: how fast they grow, how much they earn, what current problems they have and so on. A good way to analyze your competitors is to make a Competitive Analysis Table.

Download FREE Competitive Analysis Table

Don’t think that a product that is extremely successful on European market will have the same success on the Asian market. You should take into consideration people’s mentality, political and economic situation in their country and so on. Having done all these steps you will get the product that has far more chances to survive. Of course, there still will be a long and hard way to go through, but a right beginning is the half of your success.

Mistake #7: Get discouraged too quickly

Nobody likes to feel himself as a failure. That's why so many people stop trying once their idea doesn’t work. But it’s not the end of the world. Failure just opens a new horizon. Look at the example of two school friends that were doing some programming and once decided to open their own company. When they tried to sell their product it didn't work and their idea failed. But that didn’t stop them from starting another company which is now known as Microsoft. Yes, it's a story about Bill Gates and his school friend Paul Allen, co-founders of a software giant Microsoft and one of the richest persons in the world. There are thousands of other examples that show that one failure is not a disaster.

Having known these 7 mistakes you have a great chance to get into that so much desirable 10% of successful startups and who knows, maybe one day you will completely change the world with your brilliant idea.

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