5 things that could have killed your Startup


Based on our experience with working for some successful Startups and analyzing a lot of cases, we were able to extract the most important mistakes, which could lead to the bad end of your idea.

Here are some of them!

1. Fully original idea or not?

Are you scared that your next brilliant idea is already developed on the market by many other teams?

You might have analyzed it and come to the conclusion that the others didn’t do their homework and didn’t research their competitors, or just don’t care about it — but… a lot of competitors can also be a good sign. If there are plenty of players on the market, it could mean that there is money in it and the idea is actually good.

Moreover, maybe the idea isn’t already implemented as good as it could be and that’s a great chance for you to do it better!.

It’s said that you have to be original and you have to find the niche, but it isn’t always true.

Just to mention the story of a successful Polish startup – Brand24. At the beginning, they already had a lot of competitors on the market, but the Brand24’s team did their homework and worked out the idea better. Now they’re one of the best platforms to monitor social media for brands in Poland, and are strongly gaining the market on the other continents.

You don’t have to be afraid of the competitors who are present and those who will appear soon. On the other hand, maybe there is no point in duplicating another Twitter or Instagram… 🙂

You always have to check if the market demand seems to be already filled.

To be original or not?

If we already talk about original ideas, some startups hardly try to develop their own but their solutions don’t solve anyone’s problem.

Before you start working on your idea, think about your target audience and about those who probably will want to use your product in the future.

For example, in 2001, Bill Gates introduced the Compaq Tablet — the tablet that was meant to revolutionize the market. However, when it showed up for the first time, people weren’t ready to use that kind of tool.

You have to remember:

  • Don’t avoid the competitors – smartly use them as a benchmark for your idea!
  • Don’t stick to the narrow niche so hard – perhaps it’s still a niche because it is just not very desirable by the people?
  • Original ideas must have targeted recipients and solve their real problems

So… to be original or not? We cannot really say 🙂

2. Wrong target group

Sometimes, it turns out that our product doesn’t match to a selected group. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the fun. Maybe you have to change business model or some functionality and adjust the product to new target. You should not give up prematurely and don’t listen to the bad thoughts.

Many startups weren’t successful because people had lost faith and stopped striving for success.

The history of YouTube is a good example. YouTube, at the beginning, was a video-dating site named “Tune In Hook Up.” It was inspired by a “HotorNot” website, but the idea didn’t get much interest. So…the founders scrapped the idea and looked at the big picture. They uncovered potential of their idea and focused their site on simply on-line video sharing.

3. Launching too late or too early

Sometimes, it’s better to have anything done, rather than working for months to take the idea to perfection.

Most of the time, people are overzealous and want to put into their product every functionality they could imagine. At the end, they can’t decide which one is the most important. People often don’t know what is the basic value of their product and can’t tell that in one sentence.

Many functionalities mean a lot of work — longer term to end is needed. Moreover, creating them absorbs a lot of resources and then you even don’t know if the idea is going to work.

MVP first. You have to decide which functionalities are the most important ones and let them be evaluated by a market. It’s better if you create your product iteratively and adjust to feedback provided by the people.

Launching too fast is possible too. In this case, your reputation can seriously get hurt. The core of your application must be working or users or investors will eat you alive.


4. Lack of IT support

Some Startups need a good and solid background initially, but others don’t. The time when you have to hire good IT team will come eventually.

It may turn out to be difficult to find eager and responsible in-house developers. Sometimes, a project may require bigger assets and then it’s worth it to call for a specialized company.

It depends on the programmer or the company whether your project will work out and if it will be elastic, scalable and stable and this will help determine how pleased the users are with the project. You can avoid many problems and costs if you do the initial part well. After this, you may decide to rewrite the project from scratch or just improve the codebase.

If you aren’t a technical person, you’ll probably find it hard to judge one’s skills.

In that case you can…

  • Check the references and clients’ opinions about the IT company you think to hire
  • Get advice from your technical friend – if he cannot help you directly, he may help with judgment

5. Investor relations

Idea’s yours – you know best what you want to achieve with it. Investors can help you because they have business experience and can give you useful market feedback.

They should be your support. However, you have to be a strong and confident person — you and your business partner are the people who are supposed to run the company. Many startups fail because of bad investor management.

Sometimes it happens that the investor is fully in charge and originator doesn’t have sufficient strength to to take up the reins .

This happens especially when troubles come up. It’s bad, because they have no heart for your idea and lack your vision. It’s good to be humble, but the last word should be yours.

Of course, each startup should be treated individually, everyone has different story. Causes above seem to be the basics of basics and sounds common to the most of issues the Startup can spot, but still many startup teams forgot about them.

Photo by Dean Meyers

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Angelika is a Startup's geek who takes care of the Octivi's brand and helps with developing next awesome ideas.

  • Wow! Thx for mentioning Brand24 Angelika! 🙂