Author: Shrey

Why do most startups fail? Even when there are so many opportunities and resources available today.

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Here’s how you can succeed where others fail

A startup is just a non-real entity that exists only on paper if you think about it. And startups are formed to give people a reason to come and work together towards a common goal. It is the people, usually the founders that decide which direction to head in, which processes to follow and the decisions that need to be made. And along with the early employees in a startup they are responsible for all the work that is done. So when we say this/that startup failed, it doesn’t make any sense, startups can’t fail, startups don’t fail, right? People do.

So, the real question is why do people fail? Generally, but more specifically when it comes to startups. Now I have a book’s worth of content on this, but to give an overview, it all comes down to three reasons. First, bad expectations management. I’ve somewhat covered this in my earlier videos, but most early founders, don’t have a good enough idea of what they’re heading into. Of course, you can’t always have a full picture of the future, but when your job is to build, implement and deliver products and solutions that possibly thousands or millions of people will use, then you need to know what to expect to a good degree and prepare for it the best you can. The problem is, most founders don’t expect a lot of things that they will come across and when they do, they’re lost and then instead putting out the fire, they finally get down to learning what to do in that particular situation, and while they’re busy doing that, the fire keeps spreading and then it becomes even harder to solve that problem. And the worst thing that can happen to a young founder is to get stuck in this cycle. But had you expected to come across those challenges, you would have prepared for it and the on-the-ground reality would have been completely different.

Startups don’t fail, people do

The second reason that people fail or “startups fail” is the lack of access to quality information and resources. So, once you know what to expect, your next step would be to prepare for it by researching online, taking online courses and building that skillset. The problem arises when it’s hard to shift through the ocean of surface level, incomplete and often deceitful information on the internet that makes you think like they’re telling you everything you need to know but usually that’s just not true. Take any search query for instance and type it on google and youll find that 9 out of the 10 pages are filled with titles “Everythin you need to know in 5 easy steps”, “become an expert overnight by following these 10 secrets to say creating a foolproof business plan”. If it was that simple and easy to find then everyone would be running a million dollar business right now but that’s obviously not the case. And I don’t blame google or the bloggers for filling you up with this over simplified information because after all these are the types of titles and articles that drive the most traffic, and it’s a great marketing hack (which I talk all about in my startup design course) but it just doesn’t solve your problem in the long run and you often have to put in hundreds of search queries and visit thousands of websites and take 10-20 different online courses and spend so much money only to get 1 small insight that is actually actionable. And that is the issue. Most information you will find that is talked about in these “expert courses” is so inactionable. In the moment they make it seem like they’re changing your life, but when you actually get down to it, you wouldn’t even know what your first step should be. If you’re someone that’s been through all this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The good news is, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t good resources out there that can actually help you. There 100% are, it’s just a really tedious experience of having to look and accumulate these resources together and then try and make sense of the entire picture. But the even better news is, you don’t have to put yourself through that. This why startup cavern was founded.

Why is it so difficult to build a startup from scratch?

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It requires a whole different skillset which can be easily acquired if you know where to look.

Startups have a lot of moving parts that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes that need to fit together seamlessly. I call this the startup machine and the reason why it’s so hard to build a startup from scratch is that more often than not, founders don’t have a complete blueprint of the various processes that need to be put in action when starting from scratch.

So I talk a lot more about the startup machine in my free course – Modular Startups. But basically, if you don’t have a clear roadmap of what to expect and how to design and implement processes for yourself, for your product, and for your team, you will end up struggling for months with no end in sight. And unfortunately, that is the case with most founders. Especially, the first-time founders, the student founders, and anyone trying to adapt their business to succeed in 2021. You see even though everyone hears about how difficult and demanding it can be to build a startup from scratch, somehow, we all underestimate how tedious things can be when you start handling day-to-day operations.

You will be to walk into a room full of investors with such outstanding confidence, knowing that there is no curveball they can throw at you, that you haven’t already figured out ten times over

In the beginning, it will seem like a piece of cake, but very quickly things will start piling up, you will start encountering problems that you didn’t even think would be problems, and that would only be the beginning of all your problems. You’ll soon feel the need to start spending money on every little thing to make progress, and eventually, you will be stretched thin – financially, energetically and willpower can only take you so far. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be like that, at all.

You see, there are processes and methods and certain kinds of practical planning that you can do before you commit to any business idea that gives you such clarity of mind that when you do get to work, you know exactly what your next steps should be, you know what types of problems you will come across and solve them way before they even become problems. You will be to walk into a room full of investors with such outstanding confidence, knowing that there is no curveball they can throw at you, that you haven’t already figured out ten times over. Building a startup is a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to this crazy, wishful journey if you’ve taken the right preliminary steps.

Does the world need any more savvy, progressive, and committed startup founders?

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The world has plenty of startups and we still need more.

If you’ve ever had a startup idea that you thought would really make a difference, or it can make someone’s life easier in any way, then I think it’s your responsibility to look further into it.

A lot of times I’ve been told by highly capable founders, that “no matter what business idea I try to pursue, I feel like I am entering a really saturated market with some competitor or the other solving this problem in some way already.” And then that’s it, that’s the end of the life of a startup that could’ve potentially been a million-dollar success. The fact is, that humanity is fueled by improvements and progress and the constant desire to want more they are presently getting. And if that wasn’t the case, we’d all still be stuck in the stone-age. I mean you can still defend yourself with a rock or build a house with a bunch of stone-age technology. And people were happy with back then, they were getting their problems solved by all these products that were in the market. But no, some entrepreneurially spirited cavemen decided that we can do better than this.  And then came the industrial age. And the same thing happened, when most people said, wow there’s literally a solution to everything. And now we have fully automated computer programs doing all the work for us.

If you’re facing a problem that you think requires a solution, chances are other people could use it as well

Of course, these examples are generational in nature, but if you look at the entrepreneurial environment today, there are about a 50million small businesses and startups being registered globally every year. And this is a conservative number. So the question you’re probably asking yourself right now is “are there 50million problems in the world that I’m not aware of?” Well, there’s definitely a lot of problems we can’t all come across. But the thing these aren’t 50 million unique businesses. And the key point here is, you don’t have to be one, to be successful. What makes you successful is not always about what you’re doing, but rather how you’re doing and for whom you’re doing it.

Let’s take a really relevant example that you’ve probably been using a lot these days. Zoom. Zoom wasn’t the first video calling startup, in fact when it launched there were hundreds of video-calling apps and skype had an 8 year and a billion-dollar lead over zoom. Slack is another amazing example. It wasn’t the first business communication platform. But they did it right. They did better than everyone else, if it was marginally, they understood their customers and what they wanted and made an interface that was more user-friendly than its competitors. And they targeted the right people, the younger, modern companies, and banked on their more relaxed and laid-back office culture that has been trending this past decade. And look where they are now. They did it right, they did better, and they targeted the right people.

The point of me saying all of this is that despite slack’s success, there’s going to more businesses coming in and doing things differently. People love new products and services, and they always will. So, if you’re facing a problem that you think requires a solution, chances are other people could use it as well. So, if you have a business solution, don’t stop there, dive deeper into it because you might just find something, we all could do use.   

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