Want Your Startup to Fail? I’ll Teach You How



I'll teach you how to wreck your business in my highly sarcastic and beyond amusing article. For extra content make sure to read between the lines and below ‘Alternative’ headers.


Make sure you’re reinventing a wheel

Remember: all these entrepreneurs flock in a very few industries like bees to honey for a good reason. Then why not make another match-three puzzle game or a to-do list organizer? I found about 300 to-do list organizers on Google Play alone, which proves they’re in high demand. People need them. All of them. They want their to-do lists to be minimal and cute, eyesore bright and in pastel colors; with checkmarks, reminders, alerts and calendars and what not. Close your eyes. Imagine the to-do list organizer of your dreams. What would you like yours to look like? What unique features would it have? How about checkboxes? Yes, that’s it! When the user is done with a task they press the checkbox to cross it off the list. Brilliant! How about due date? Let users choose a due date for each of their tasks — they’re gonna love it! And I’m pretty sure they’ve never seen anything like it before. So what you’re waiting for? All you have to do is find an oversaturated market niche, see what others do, do something identical, and head off to the Bahamas in anticipation of a jackpot.


It’s good to have a choice, but how many to-do list organizers do you reallyneed? And how different can they be? Most people probably only need one and many need none at all. What makes your product different? What makes it stand out? How are you gonna make a profit off of it? Reinvent a wheel, inject your startup in an oversaturated market, make an add pop-up every time a user opens your app, and find your app first in the ‘uninstall’ line.

Whatever it is that you want to build, conduct a proper market analysis of the supply and demand curve in the specific niche you’re aiming to target.

Entering an industry where market equilibrium is long surpassed and a clear surplus has been reached means nothing more than adding to that surplus. Consider industries with supply shortages and unsolved problems, get there ‘firstest with the mostest’, and offer a solution, like Uber.

Uber may not be the freshest but it’s one of the most relevant examples of why ‘first in, best dressed’ rule works in business. Uber’s success as a startup may be explained by a number of factors, but you can’t deny the fact that it was the first ride sharing company which made a big presence and managed to carve out a meaty chunk of the market. No matter how much competition turns up, Uber’s still on everyone’s lips and it’s something people think of first when they need a ride — market recognition at its best, huh? And keep in mind that quite a few real world problems were solved thanks to Uber: problems with public transportation, ways to hold your driver accountable, easy accessibility, ability to choose how much you’re going to pay for the ride, easy payment and more. That being said, don’t be like all these other companies, in fact, don’t be like Uber, be yourself, but unique self who can get off the beaten track and make the tables turn.


Waste every penny you’ve got

You’ve finally gathered enough money to start your business — your grandma gave you her lifetime savings on Christmas Eve, an angel investor turned up at the right time, you broke your piggy bank — now you have the capital to get your startup up and running. Now what? You’re gonna need some place where you could run your business errands, right? You want this place to have enough space for your team, you want it to be comfortable and inspiring — after all, you don’t want to start a new Google in a shed, you don’t want your potential partners, investors, and clients to think of your company as some fly-by-night, hell, you don’t want Jimmy from high school to think you’re the same old geeky loser. Come in boldly — rent out a huge space, decorate it to your taste (don’t forget about posters with inspiring quotes quoted and re-quoted a bazillion times), put some exotic plants here and there, hire the best guys in the industry, make sure you keep up with the winners in terms of latest technology and best equipment, put a sophisticated coffee machine in the kitchen, print out some T-shirts with the company’s logo, and let the whole world know about you.


In reality, it’s hard enough to get any funding at all but, believe it or not, there’s something even harder than that — spend the funding wisely.

It doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself up in your bedroom with a laptop and guard the money you’ve raised with your life not letting a single penny slip through your fingers. There’s no need to resort to extreme measurements in either way. Work space matters but it shouldn’t be something big and pompous right from the beginning; using latest technologies is essential but there are plenty of community edition products and open source solutions which are out there either completely for free or for a significantly low price; you don’t need slackers on your team but you can also seek help from tech savvy enthusiasts or outsource some parts of your business to reduce expenses.

With only $10,000 in credit card debt Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar started Atlassian and built their first product — Jira, the issue tracking application which changed the lives of software developers forever. SimpliSafe’s Chad Laurans raised some money from his friends and family and spent eight years building a self-install security business. He used to solder the first prototypes himself just to save money for the business. Colton Gardner, founder and COO of Neighbor.com, and his pals saved tons of money using free tools to run the business and simple landing pages and PDFs to get their first customers. At the beginning of their venture they were never too shy to ask for a discount to get the best price possible and opt for smaller companies or startup businesses over big companies, which produced similar products or provided services alike but way cheaper. If you like Gardner’s course of action you might also want to consider sharing an office with investors or choosing to stay in an Airbnb or renting a car through Turo during business trips, because why burn cash when you can make something out of it.


Hire people who don’t care

Hire anyone who wants to join because we all know very few people want to work for startups. Write a powerful job posting to attract your main audience here — people without prior experience who are looking for trainee positions and are ready to work 9 to 5 for little or no compensation. Then find someone experienced but make sure they don’t give a damn about your startup and its success. Make sure your team doesn’t understand and doesn’t believe in your idea. Never gather your team for meetups, don’t waste your time on team building, never communicate your goals to the team, forget about soft skills, morale, and company vision — who cares about all that sugar coated crap when you’re here to make money and want to do it asap.


An innovative idea is not enough to push your business into the game, you’re also gonna need a stellar team with both hard and soft skills to really make it work. You want experienced team members who are willing to share their knowledge; otherwise, it’s useless for your business. You want team members who maybe don’t have that much experience but are passionate enough about your startup idea to drive it further.

Whoever you choose to walk this road by your side, keep in mind that low levels of passion and collective vision drag your business down.

Unmotivated and uninterested employees won’t care about customer satisfaction which is so important when you only begin; they won’t bother about cost control and expected sales growth, and won’t lift a finger to bring innovation in your startup’s products and services. Make sure your crew works for the idea and not exploits it.

When a company focuses on people and values it has a great advantage over companies who focus on profit solely. When they only started, Apiko, the company providing reliable and scalable solutions for multiple businesses in various industries, had only two people on board: two brothers. Even back then they had quite a few like-minded friends working in IT who were passionate about technology. The CEO, Mykola Striletskyy, wanted to create a space where everyone could develop in various directions and exercise their talents. His goal was to focus on people first and create a community of enthusiasts who love what they do; therefore, he decided he wanted to grow his brainchild together with tech savvy adepts hungry for change.


Jump the gun. Now!

Imagine yourself stranded on an island. It’s getting dark; the wind is getting stronger and the waves are getting higher; dark dense clouds are racing through the stormy sky pierced by fiery thunderbolts. You need a shelter — and the sooner the better. You’re running along the coast scanning your surroundings chaotically looking for something to build a shelter with. You’ve found some twigs, some palm leaves, some dirt to stick it all together. You gotta hurry. The storm is getting closer and closer. You hurriedly lean the twigs against a tree, cover them with the leaves and put some rocks and dirt on top of the leaves to secure the frail construction at the base. The storm is wild and your shelter barely stays in one piece but the next morning it’s over and everything looks as peaceful as ever. But have many storms would a shelter like this survive? Some twigs and leaves did the job for one stormy night but will they be enough to withstand another one? Will this kind of shelter be any good to protect you from wild animals? What if you had some tools and more materials, what if you had a blueprint for a proper shelter?

There are plenty of people who rely on luck only and think in way too simple formulas when it comes to business. They only expect things they imagine to happen and never reflect on negative scenarios.

Their brainchild excites them so much that they dive in the deep uncharted waters head first without any guidance, tools or preparation, and find themselves lost before they know it.


Planning and waiting in the wings sounds way more boring than stacking cash off of your first deal. However, it’s too easy to get high on your sweet dreams and lose something you’ve been sweating over in a blink of an eye if you don’t know who you are and where you’re going — and that’s why you need a business plan.


A proper business plan will have all of the following:

executive summary — the part where you highlight what your business is about, company description — a list of issues your business solves, market analysis — research on your industry and its trends and tendencies, your competitors and potential clients, organization and management — outline the legal structure of your business and who’s going to be in charge, service or product line — describe what your business offers and how it’s going to benefit your customers, marketing and sales — how you’re going to attract clients and keep them interested, funding request — how much you’ll need and what you’ll spend it on, financial projections — prospective financial outlook for the next few years, quarterly/monthly projections, and revenue estimations, appendix — any documents to support your idea.

Get these points covered and you’ll not only have a gob of information sliced and diced before your eyes — you will have a better chance at getting funding and spotting your business’s weaknesses before it’s too late.

Not knowing where you’re going you may never reach the destination; while being focused, educated and prepared makes things way easier. Check out Facebook’s first business plan — would all this success be possible without a vision? I think not.


Forget about marketing

“If the product is good, people will buy it” — not sure whose quote it might be, I’ve just made it up. Here’s another one: “If the weather is nice, people will go out” — just made it up as well. See, it’s easy: it’s easy to come up with quotes; it’s easy to sell your stuff. After all, people want good products, don’t they? So all you need to do is design a toaster, for example, a good one of course — put it up for sale and wait. Congrats! Two people bought your toaster last month.

The problem is, how are people supposed to know your toaster is a good one indeed? How are they supposed to know it’s better than hundreds of toasters being sold in the store? How are you supposed to know whether those two people enjoy using your toasters at all?

You will have to tell them and you will have to listen to them.


Unless you live on an island and you’re the only manufacturer of [insert here], it’s reasonably hard to make people buy whatever you sell. Apart from your product or service being utter trash, no marketing — is one of the top reasons why your sales never go up. Sending emails, blogging, posting on social media, using paid advertising, sponsoring an event — most of these marketing moves require not that much funding but prove to be a must if you want exposure and recognition for your brand.

I talked about Buffer’s success in my previous article How to Validate Your Startup Idea Before Development — but I never mentioned that Buffer owes a great deal of its success to a blog. Buffer Open blog is a space where people can find solutions to their longstanding problems using nothing else but Buffer. Buffer not only presents their product but shows how one can benefit from it providing insightful stories and practical guides. Something as simple but yet so powerful and transparent as a blog can build a bridge with openness and trust as its pillars between you and your customers; do everything to find your audience and even more not to lose it.



Source: medium.com

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