Not following the Lean Startup methodology is the biggest one.
Don’t get over-excited, grow fast before the product is ready, and fail because the product was never good enough.
Facebook, Google, Snap, Instagram, YouTube, Groupon, DropBox, TechCrunch, MailChimp, and I could go on and on… all started off using the Lean Startup methodology.
Being lean means shipping early, achieving product/market fit by repeatedly trying, and the stay lean until that winning formula is hit. It also massively reduces the chance of failure as less cash is being burnt.
It took Netflix TEN years before they got into streaming and even when they did, in 2007, it then took them a couple more years before they took off. Trying and trying to get it right for over a decade, but once they did they became a US$75 billion company pretty damn quick.
Great products don’t just happen.
And this doesn’t just apply to tech. McDonald’s was fine tuned for 15 years by the McDonald brothers before Ray Kroc came into the business and made it into the most successful fast food company in the world.
The Candy brothers, who revolutionised ultra high-end property, started by renovating flats – that was their lean period.
You often hear about the explosive periods of startups. The lean periods tend not to make the headlines.
To build a great product, tech or otherwise, you need an iterative lean period. This period allows the startup to scale in incredible ways much later – when you hit the gas there will be far more growth if your foundations were built on a very effective lean period.