As an early-stage tech startup founder or someone planning to become one, it is important that you are aware of the common pitfalls that you will most likely encounter on your journey. In this article, we will list five of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make and explain them with examples. After reading through this article, you’ll have the eye to spot them early on and take the necessary steps to address them. Let’s dive in.
1. Picking the Wrong Tech Stack
When you pick the wrong software stack, you may encounter poor performance of your application or website, difficulty with scaling up, and security risks. Depending on your type of business and your end goals, this can be a very costly mistake.
For example, if you are designing a website to quickly sell products through e-commerce, the best option would be to develop with open source platforms like Magento, WooCommerce…, instead of developing from scratch using the Angular / Java stack. (Or) If you are building a financial service app to make your customers’ lives easier, you need to ensure that security is never compromised and need to choose tech stack like Java which handles all security features well.
Picking the wrong tech stack can be a risky move as it often leaves startups with little choice in the long term and tends to limit their capabilities.
Consider other implications: When you use a new stack, you’ll need more time to adapt. Developers are forced to read a lot of documentation, as well as take time to understand how the stack works. Or you might need to invest in training your team in order for them to become experts. All of this will have an impact on your go-to-market strategy.
Get the help of your trusted technology partner to think through these issues skillfully and make the right technology choice.
2. Investing in Features that Don’t Solve Your User’s Problem
Startups often fall into this trap when they are developing their product or service. Without a ‘product mindset’, you can easily get carried away with the next bright idea or shiny new technology and forget to deliver something meaningful to your early-evangelists / initial paying customers.
There’s another pitfall. Building a feature only because the competition has it. In reality, your customers might not have the problem that this particular feature solves. You’d only be wasting time, money and effort. So, it’s always recommended to scale back and test your assumptions with a minimum viable product and testing with your user.
3. Not Keeping Up with New Technology
Certain features of some technologies have technically advanced to the point where they can solve your customer problems better than you can. But they might not be as widely used by developers or other third-party companies as you’d like.
For example, a startup looking at creating an LMS application for students from various backgrounds and streams should ideally look at the Ionic Framework, which can help them to build the app accessible on all platforms such as Web, Desktop and Hybrid Mobile app. School and college users can have this dedicated LMS platform in their library and common students can use the same LMS platform on the web and mobile app.
This trap can result in a lack of confidence to adopt new technologies, or even the entire industry, not realizing how current that technology is. This is a huge mistake for startups because it could lead to failure.
It is important that you stay up to date on the technologies that are relevant to the business model and the project at hand.
4. Starting Without a Proper Architecture
Sometimes, startups make the mistake of not starting with a proper fail-proof base architecture resulting in problems that were not anticipated during execution including technology incompatibility, missing out on a problem-solving technology or library, delaying the plans & affecting scalability in the future. This often results in technical debt wherein the cost of development overruns / exceeds the budget.
After proper architecture, tech scaling can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to do everything all at once & hit the market. And this is where a technology partner can help. When you partner with a like-minded expert & share your vision & plan, they can take on the burden of using appropriate technology as per the architectural design, even if it involves learning and applying new technology to ensure that the application is always able to scale.
When you make fail-proof architecture a key requirement from early on, you will be able to prevent growing pains related to tech later on.
5. Mismanaging Costs
One of the key success factors in a technology startup is how well you manage and foresee technology costs. You can miss out on many opportunities to save money simply because you don’t have a clear idea of the costs involved before your tech team takes on their first task. A good technology partner will help you understand these complex issues.
For example, when building a new web application, the cost of hosting can be expensive than originally anticipated. Also, ramping up people is usually expensive immediately after starting your company.
Non-obvious mistake startups make is: buying a lot of software, hardware and software licenses before they even start their tech company. Instead, you should focus on finding the best talent that can help you build your tech product better & faster.
In other words, startups can begin building their startups at a cheaper price and when they realize their needs increase, they should scale up with this new setup.
There are a lot of reasons why early-stage startups make the technology mistakes that we described in this article. The first step to avoiding them is to understand that you can be more effective with the capabilities of technology and growth. When you need help, there’s always an experienced and skillful technology partner that you can tap into. The easiest way to build a successful business is to avoid mistakes and offer a few uniquely valuable things for your market that no one is doing.