Having been part of a handful of startups and running a few of my own, I can tell you it’s not for everyone. Most startups fail, for many reasons, and when they do succeed it’s mostly determined by one factor: timing.
That’s not to say that launching at the right time makes it any easier; it’s doesn’t. Anyone launching a new venture, whether to enter an existing market or create a new one, should know about the early challenges that every startup must overcome.
I’ve identified 4, which are:
- Product-market fit.
- Hiring and building a world-class team.
- Making money.
- Build an organization that scalably and repeatedly launches great products.
Achieving product-market fit means you’ve built something that a lot of people want. Period. This is hard, and when there’s no market need it’s the reason most startups fail; with the right timing and all.
My startup, Netek, is still in this phase. We’re creating a new industry, the pieces to the puzzle are still not in place for a whole market to exist; but it will.
Hiring and building a world-class team
Your startup will grow beyond your founding team once you’ve achieved product-market fit. Remember that the team you build is the company you build. And you have to consciously develop a culture before your first hire because it will set itself if you don’t; and then it will be very hard to change it.
To help you think about the culture you want to create, ask yourself: What is the kind of company I want to show up to work at?
At the beginning making money is not the number 1 priority; building a great product is. Basically, you’ll start making money if you build the right product for the right people who will be delighted to pay for it.
Build an organization that scalably and repeatedly launches great products
This goes hand in hand with challenge #2, I’ll repeat this again: the team you build is the company you build. You have to build a team and culture that celebrates innovation and rejects more of the same. Your company will grow to be a slow, value short-term gains over long-term outcomes if you don’t; this is the fastest path to irrelevance.
There are many other challenges, but these are the main ones. What other early challenges do startups have to look out for?