What have been your biggest mistakes and biggest learnings from building your startup?

Hildel Mendoza Business Development - Vendor Credentialing Service

September 8th, 2016

As I am looking at the journey ahead of taking the leap of faith, I wonder what kind of things to look out for and perhaps some wisdom that you can share that I can use for guidance during execution.

Rob G

September 8th, 2016

focus heavily on proving product/market fit BEFORE you cut a line of code (or build a product or open a store or whatever your format happens to be).  It is mind boggling how many startups, even today, build a product first then try to sell it.  Sell first, build later.  And don't stop selling.  Even after you have what you think is solid market demand, keep validating as you build - don't build in a vacuum. 

Alejandro Cremades Author of The Art of Startup Fundraising & Serial Entrepreneur

September 8th, 2016

My biggest mistake was to keep my idea secret. The lesson there was that by sharing my idea with others, I could then unleash the power of crowdsourcing and have other folks help me in covering some of the holes that I was not able to see myself.

Another mistake was to outsource core pieces of the service. The lesson there is that by keeping those pieces in house it was easier to be more effective and to generate better results. Nothing like having people accountable and managing things. The level of ownership is totally different.

Timothy Coats Director of Applied Innovation at Trace3

September 8th, 2016

Hildel, one of the most common mistakes I have seen when working with young start-ups in truly understanding why someone would spend money with them.  Usually they spend the first 18 month talking about their technology, which they should be rightfully proud of.  They will get may affirmations, but very few orders.  You have to put your self in a prospects shoes and ask why would the business spend money on what you are selling.  Understand where your value is and then build your go-to-market around that.  

Also, pick just one or two use cases to focus on.  You will have limited resources so you need to deploy them such that the support each other, very much like a Chess game.  You can't do that if you don't stay focused.

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

September 8th, 2016

Mistakes: Not having the following: (1) Ownership and protection of Intellectual Property (2) Own $s at risk (3) Cohesive plan (4) Management & financial sophistication (5) Product(s) ready for market We also suffered from over-confidence, and lacked proper preparedness. Sent from my iPhone

Steve Owens

September 12th, 2016

Focusing on the cheapest when I should be focused on the best.

Gloria Luna VP Marketing - Brand builder and creative problem solver

September 8th, 2016

Building awareness is key.  Knowing your POD and how to create demand for your product/service will be critical.  

Working with entrepreneurs, Often the common thread is that marketing is de-valued and they think their product/service will sell itself.  Either it is not adequately budgeted for it or they don't call on the expertise where necessary. Many a good enterprise has failed because they failed to create a compelling, consistent message and building engagement with their target audience. 

"When a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it..."

Good luck to you.


September 8th, 2016

Remember that when you are speaking with people constructive criticism can be helpful but when you come across the people that are trying to bring you down and be negative because they know they don't have the guts to be a creator, don't be polite, get up from the table tell them to piss off and walk away. The difference between the 2 is blatantly obvious and take actual notes from the good criticism people as it will help you fine tune your business. Listening to the naysayers will ruin your own psychology.   Also make sure you spend much more time on the theory of your project, your gut instincts will tell you whichever specifics that you passively ignored to fully address before moving forward.

Dianna Mullins Co-founder & SVP, Marketplace Operations at Mode Media (fka Glam Media)

September 10th, 2016

When at the earliest stage of starting your company the following lessons i have learned:
1. Select co-founders that compliment your skill-set, not overlap
2. Focus on the monetization strategy early 
3. Iterate often - plan, build, validate, re-plan, build, validate ...
4. Identify all your stakeholders early. ALL of them. Then go about answering the value you add to each one. If conflicting, work through that until you find the sweet spot.
Get to work! :-) -d

Tim Wat Adjunct Professor at California State University, East Bay

September 8th, 2016

+1 Rob Gropper. 

You have to validate product/market fit first - which is a fancy term for making sure your solution solves an actual need/pain that real people are willing to pay money to solve. 

You can't validate that without actually talking to people, which is uncomfortable, awkward...and absolutely necessary.

 The risk of not validating first? Building the best screen door for a submarine.

Valeriia Timokhina Eastern Peak Software: Custom software development

September 9th, 2016

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Hope this helps! Have a nice day!