The following insight came from my podcast interview with Steve Hoffman, where he talked about why it’s important to build an A+ team and some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make.
When asked what some common mistakes that I see entrepreneurs make are, I would say it depends on the stage of the startup. So today, I will share three huge mistakes that entrepreneurs make, but they should stop immediately.
Number one, in the very beginning, they spend too little time building the right team. And what I mean by the right team is that they will often bring together people they happen to know onto their team. Instead, what they should be doing is searching for just the right people, those who are like superstars in whatever they need to get done so that their business can succeed. Because honestly, it’s tough to launch a startup, and it’s even harder to make that startup successful. If you don’t have an A+ team, your chances of building the next top startup are impossible. Because even if you have the right idea, your team will fumble the execution. So the first thing you should do is spend 80% of your time building that team.
Number two, entrepreneurs make a huge mistake because they don’t spend enough time with their competitors. They should be compounder users of their competitors’ products. Every new competitor has been out there experimenting in the marketplace and ahead of you for a while. You can’t assume they’re stupid. They have figured out things for marketing and sales. There’s a lot of different kinds of stuff you may have an innovation, something you’re doing that’s different, that’s much better than them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from all the mistakes they’ve made and all the little tricks they have found out that work. So you should know their products inside and out, so you know exactly what they aren’t doing. Find out what they aren’t delivering the customer and things they’re overlooking. So in your product, you can make sure you have that.
Number three is significant. The most severe and biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is that they stick with the same idea too long. Most of us never want to give up, and once we start working on something, we invest our time, emotions, and money into this project. We don’t want to admit it’s not working. So we charge ahead, we think we can fix any problem. So even if determination is a key asset of successful entrepreneurs, it’s not about putting on the blinders and just focusing on this one thing.
If you’re in a startup right now, and you feel like you’re Sisyphus in Greek mythology, rolling, pushing that boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down and you have to repeat the process over and over, I will tell you, your business is broken. There’s something fundamentally wrong that you’re not seeing. Great entrepreneurs know that if you’ve launched your product, and you’re six months into your launch, it isn’t taking off, and that’s it. If you’re not running after that boulder, just trying to keep up, if you’re still pushing, you need to re-examine your business. Most entrepreneurs fail by sticking with the same idea for too long.
I have found that successful entrepreneurs will keep trying until they hit that thing, where this explosion of energy propels their startup. So if you don’t feel that explosion, then honestly, the demand isn’t out there for your product that you need to make it successful.