If you have previously run a failed startup, this might be a question you are familiar with; if yet, then I am sure this is a question you dread to ever ask yourself.
As a topic we have previously covered in this platform, failure is inevitable; it is the necessary evil that you have to go through. In fact, as an entrepreneur you’re going to fail, you’ll spend cash and lots of it.
You’ll build products out of uncalculated assumptions and no one will like them. You’ll have painful and expensive experiences that you wouldn’t want to try again.
The above question was posted sometime last year on Twitter by Jason Calacanis, the Founder and CEO of Launch, a firm that invests in early-stage startups through its accelerator program.
This was followed by a series of responses from individuals who identified deeply with the question; and shared the reasons why their startup/product failed.
The responses provide an overview of the main reasons why many startups fail, and a learning pad for anyone who is about to or currently building a startup.
“What killed your startup? What would you do differently next time? Be 100% candid.”
What killed your startup?
What would you do differently next time?
Be 100% candid.
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@Jason) September 3, 2019
Reason 1: Lack of product-market fit
Trying to create the perfect product instead of launching and making iterations as we get feedback.
— s.o.n (@sonsofnasher) September 3, 2019
Reason 2: Not user-friendly
Instead of working on what users actually wanted, we worked really hard to solve a problem that seemed fundable, but did not exist, and by the time we realized it, we were both out of money and energy.
— Kirill Zubovsky (@kirillzubovsky) September 3, 2019
Reason 3: No market need
We built a product for a market that didn’t exist
Caught up in crypto hype
Luckily we found a soft landing at a competitor with more money
Unluckily they too reached the same fate, just after spending way more money
— Graham McBain (@grahammcbain) September 3, 2019
Reason 4: Not the right co-founder
Picking a co-founder for the sake of “having a co-founder.” Don’t bring someone onto your team just because they believe in your product
— Jesse G (@JesseCGarcia) September 3, 2019
Reason 5: Running out of cash
Ran out of $. Didn’t focus on revenue early enough. Building two different products at the same time, feature creep,
— Danish Ahmed (@sdanisha) September 3, 2019
Reason 6: Lack of vision/execution
Lots of strategy and vision, lack of actual execution.
After that experience, I don’t like most startup advice. 90% of what a startups need to do is very simple: just execute the plan in a timely manner.
Startups don’t need to overthink strategy, they just need to DO.
— Rafael Mendiola (@GroundControl) September 3, 2019
Reason 7: Losing focus
I lost focus. Everything was going right and I sunk the ship. We lost a big customer, and I let the objective impact of that impact me very deeply internally. I didn’t keep an even keel and lost focus. Will remember this for act 2. Always keep an even keel.
— Mat Sherman (@Mat_Sherman) September 3, 2019
You can follow the thread to see other different reasons why startups are failing.
Image Credits: Startups.com