5 Mistakes Startups Make in their First Year

The sad truth is, more startups fail than succeed. Some people say for every 100 startups only 2 manage to run for 5 or more years the other 98 well let’s just say then end up much faster than their founders would have planned for.

When you read and write about startups, be part of startups and be on the other end of the desk when funding startups. Certain patterns start to emerge. You start seeing why startups are failing, how founders everywhere are making the same mistakes which can be avoided. There are certain mistakes that you can easily spot in a failed startup. Many start-up entrepreneurs fall into these all-too-common traps, which can bog down or block their business flow. So I’m here today with some of these mistakes to discuss how founders can greatly increase their chances of survival.

Being Impatient

Many young founders today are way to impatient. They want results and that too really fast. It’s good to go after results and to hustle. But you have to understand one thing, each business and industry grow at different rates. If you don’t understand how your industry will grow, you’ll have a thought process that might force you to take decisions which can hurt you in the long run.

My Advice

Set growth goals based on the trajectory of similar start-ups and manage your expectations accordingly

Choosing the Wrong Name

Choosing the correct business name is vital for your success. Don’t select a name just because it’s cute, sentimental or quirky. Imagine your brand name going national or even international; will the name hold up to expansion? Is it easy to spell and remember? Does it describe your business or its benefits?

My Advice

Choose a name which is simple and to the point. Its good to get some feedback on the name with some friends to see how it sounds to other people.

Trying to do a start-up alone

Completely owning the company and having no one to report to or be accountable to sounds lucrative due to which many founders decide to go in alone, they want to have complete ownership of the idea and business and aren’t willing to share. But one thing to understand is that startups are tough & stressful and no matter how good you think you are, the truth is no one is good at everything. To avoid burn out, you need a co-founder and/or advisors to split the workload and discuss with. You’ll also be more productive with other people helping you.

My Advice

Startups take up a lot of time, so it’s normal to feel chained to your desk. But you need to interact with people and take productive meetings to move your business forward. No one can do a start-up alone. So find partners who have the same vision and can complement your strengths and weaknesses.


Holding on to a business that isn’t working

You have a brilliant idea, you’re so confident that it will work that you quit your job.

Only … it doesn’t. Now what?

First of all, you should never quit your day job until you’ve had a chance to test your concept and are sure that it’s working. But even then, after all, tests, sessions and results it’s hard to predict your startup’s future. Technology is changing rapidly forcing businesses to change with it. Things working today might not work tomorrow.

You may not have accurately predicted the way people would use your product, or customers may hate a new feature you love.

My Advice

Move fast, break things, and kill things. Don’t hold onto a startup idea just because you’re obssesed with it. Pull out an idea that’s working and blow it up into a full fledged business, or pivot altogether. Some of the biggest companies today arose from the ashes of failed startups.

Lack of a marketing strategy

With the growth of Social media and guerilla marketing, startup founders assume its easy and very simple. They believe they can just start a Facebook page, schedule some posts and clients will start landing in their lap magically. So many founders don’t prepare a strategy on how they’ll capture their audience in an increasingly noisy environment where businesses are fighting for attention with audience attention spans at an all-time low.

When it comes to branding, many founders try to cut corners and get their friend or someone on Fiverr to design their whole branding pack for a few dollars. Unprofessional branding can even bring down the best of products. It’s always best to pay a professional to design your logo, website, and other marketing materials. You may know your product but your lack of knowledge into how to represent it properly to your potential client can hurt you.

My Advice

Enter the market with a focused marketing strategy and first-class materials that will elevate your business to a professional level from your first appointment on.


In no way is this an exhaustive list, it’s just a start and with the aim to give Startup founders some food for thought into how they want to proceed. Before starting any business or executing your next million dollar idea, remember to do your research, network with other successful business owners, establish a budget and stick to it, and you will eventually achieve the profits – and the satisfaction – you desire.

Let me know in the comments below how you felt about this article.

If you have any questions or feedback don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll make sure to help you out.

Abdul Qadir

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