This week the fine folks at First Round published their annual “State of Startups” report. Amongst the many gems (and the sobering reinforcement of how far the tech industry still has to go when it comes to diversity, equality and not sexually assaulting women) is their Founder Mistakes section.
As evident as many (if not all) items on the list are – from monetizing too late, having co-founder issues, the wrong business model, messing up your go-to-market strategy or a burn-rate which is too high, I see these exact problems happen all the time.
Notably they are all pretty much avoidable – all you have to do is to keep your eyes on the ball, focussing on doing the things which really matter. At the core of it all is just good business acumen: Talking to your customers gets you to product/market-fit. Asking them for money gets you revenue. Keeping cost low stretches out your runway. And excellent communication prevents many co-founder issues.
The good news is that all this is not rocket science. Moreover, it gives you an immediate competitive advantage as most founders instead focus on the new and shiny – and sadly has a much higher chance of ending up on First Round’s list.