The road to entrepreneurship is the road less taken. It’s probably because of all the challenges startup entrepreneurs need to face to carry forward their ideation. Every year in Dallas, several startups get themselves registered. According to Bizjournals, every year, North Texas startups generate funding of a whopping $753 million. But, only a few of them get to see their dreams come true.
According to Review 42, an estimated 90% of new startups fail. In comparison, an astounding 34% of startups shut down within their first two weeks. Furthermore, statistics from Failory shows that 63% of startups that fail are from the IT sector.
Whether you plan to launch a product or offer a software solution in Dallas, there are tons of irreversible technical mistakes that you may make unknowingly. Although it might not seem to be much in the very beginning, the consequences of such errors will be catastrophic for your business in the long run.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana
On that note, let’s look at ten tech mistakes you need to avoid as an entrepreneur, along with some real-life examples to understand the consequences of these mistakes better.
#1 Not doing enough market research
Many startup entrepreneurs have fallen victim to this terrible mistake. Most startup founders are within an illusion that they’re working on a big problem. They think their product is the right thing which the customer wants, but it’s never right! Let’s understand this with an example.
In 2008, a Dallas-based entrepreneur Calvin Carter launched Bottle Rocket to sell apps in the new App Store market. He hired developers from Craigslist and, based on his own sketched out plans, developed eight apps. He aimed at creating generic user apps. However, seven of the apps flopped. The only one that survived was intended to be a business utility - a basic flight visualizer. It was enough to keep him going, but by most means, he failed! After the success of flight visualizer, Carter himself admitted that he learned from his failure by saying,
“So, while the output of those apps were failures, the outcome was the building of a muscle and the building of a depth of experience, via our portfolio, that won us pretty sizable business.”
Most tech founders start building their product and bloat it with n number of features. They get themselves immersed in it so much that they lose the idea of the actual problem they were solving. Keep in mind that before you launch your product, you are actually in a negative cash flow situation. Trying to build more features than necessary will cut deeper holes in your pocket and consume much of your valuable time.
Moreover, with an 8-second average human attention span, your excessive feature-packed product is going to make your customers dizzy. The goal should be to keep it simple. People remember Google as a search engine, Amazon for the retail marketplace, and Facebook as a social media website. Of course, now they all do much more, but those things come later.
It is essential to focus on core values and stick to them in the beginning. For example, founded in 2010, Dallas based startup known as ParkHub gained $5 million from various investors, including Bridge Bank. They achieved this by addressing the city’s most straightforward problem - its growing parking problems.
#3 Doing Everything Alone
According to a recent study published by CB Insight, 23% of startups fail because of an inadequate team.
Startup entrepreneurs always tend to take the fight to themselves. There are many ups and downs, not to mention some tasks that people can’t do alone. If you try to do things all by yourself, you will burn out before finishing your goals.
Standout Jobs was a recruiting portal startup that failed because of the same reason. Although they managed to raise $1.8 million, they still failed to succeed. This is because they wanted to do everything on their own without any external help. In the company’s post mortem, the standout jobs team accepted this by saying, “The founding team couldn’t build an MVP on its own. That was a mistake.”
It is often advisable to outsource a part of your product development, saving you money and time. You can safely rely on software development experts or organizations that help to extend your development team. As the industry pioneers, these organizations’ expertise in offering feasible tech solutions and pre-vetted tech talent dramatically reduces production time and cost.
#4 Failing to Design for Rollback
Imagine a scenario where you launched your product in the market. All seems to go well. Then you added a software upgrade, which made your software unstable, and it randomly started crashing for a lot of people. Your customers will be furious at you. If this thing is not solved quickly, this could very well mean the end for startups.
Not only small companies but big giants have also fallen prey to this. Back in 2013, due to technical issues, Reebok trainers worth $100 were getting picked up from their online site for free. Finding out the glitch took time, and it affected their brand image in the public eyes. If they had software rollback capabilities back then, the damage wouldn’t be so spectacular!
Let’s face it - no software out there is picture-perfect. With software, anything can go haywire in a live scenario. In a modern software development scenario, it is crucial to plan and design for rollback. It would help if you considered developing a microservices architecture approach for comparatively small deployment sizes and its rollback agility.
#5 Picking the wrong software stack
Being a tech entrepreneur means always being a visionary. If you can’t see the problem right before they impact your business, chances of failure increases! One such unseen problem might be - picking the wrong software stack.
If you pick the wrong software stack, chances are it won’t bite you immediately. By the time you realize the mistake you made, you may need to shed a hefty amount of money to get it fixed. For example, a wrong software stack might make adding new features impossible. Using an unpopular software stack also puts you at the forefront of security vulnerabilities. This is because unpopular software stacks are not backed by tech giants or have an active community support system. There are not many updates for security patches or bug fixes. In the event of a setback, you are pretty much by yourself!
In a nutshell, if you chose the wrong software stack, you need to face the following troubles:
- If you decide to select a new software stack, it requires time to adapt. This results in increased development time.
- You may face difficulty finding experienced developers.
- Might face sustainability issues.
- Adding new features can become impossible.
- With the wrong software stack, there will be no one to guide you through the unique problems that might occur.
#6 Not thinking about Scalability
This is where most tech entrepreneurs make a colossal blunder. They all presume that thinking of scalability is for the future. IT’S WRONG! Being an entrepreneur, you need to think about your product’s growth and how well you can meet your customers’ growing demands. Those who failed to do this are no more in the market.
Storage and rental startup Omni gathered $35M in funding. However, they had to fold their business after failing to scale. According to TechCrunch, they realized that the core business was just as challenging as architecting. The service was excellent for the consumer, but when they looked at what it would take to scale, that would be difficult and expensive.
Not only startups but even big tech giants also have fallen victim to scalability issues. Technology giant Microsoft faced the same scalability issue. Back in 2016, Microsoft acquired an interactive game streaming service known as Mixer. Mixer lets viewers interact with streamers via crowd-sourced controls. With the help of Mixer, Microsoft wanted to compete with Twitch and YouTube. However, Microsoft failed to scale Mixer and, in June 2020, announced the shutdown of the platform.
#7 Taking QA lightly
According to LinkedIn’s article, 40% of tech startups failed because of either poor or absence of QA. The reason mainly being managing the finances. To cut costs, tech entrepreneurs think that it is best to skip the QA process altogether.
The social news reader startup named Flud failed because of the neglected QA services. The product was a huge bug heap. By the time everything was fixed, the lousy reputation had prevented its success.
Rather than hiring a dedicated in house QA team, the ideal solution is to outsource it. This way, you can focus more on your development goals. With always being in control and full access to QA reporting, outsourcing QA feels like an extension of your existing team.
#8 Avoiding new technologies
Another mistake that startup entrepreneurs at Dallas seem to make is to avoid newer technologies. They chose to give preferences to the technologies they know the most about and are confident with. Generally speaking, new technologies coming in the market are more robust, feature-packed, and have advanced security features. To stay ahead of the competition, one must weigh their current options and choose the technology that is best suited for the product. Failing to do so, you may end up like 7-eleven.
The Dallas based company 7-eleven was once a dominant video rental chain. However, in 2007, it failed to seize business opportunities because they didn’t want to shift DVDs preferences to online streaming. Soon enough, players like Redbox and Netflix entered the market and started providing consumers with what they expected from 7-eleven.
In the aftermath of the failed business proposition, the then CEO Jim Keyes said they were aware of where the industry was heading and was better positioned than its competitors to take advantage of those changes. However, their rigid thoughts on sticking to DVDs made them lose their long-established customer base.
#9 Failure to Pivot
Emotions drive human beings. These often lead to irrational decisions that we later may regret. When you start your startup, many of your choices are based on emotions - for example, your preferences, your hires, and your business strategies.
The biggest mistake you can make as a startup entrepreneur is to be rigid in your means. You must be able to pivot away quickly from a wrong hire or a bad decision. Dwelling on a bad idea is sure to sap your resources. According to stats shared by CBinsights, 7% of startups failed because they clenched to a wrong decision. Let’s understand this with an example:
Founded in 2014, Besomebody was a tech startup that originated from Austin, Texas. It was primarily designed to provide live learning experiences with mentors and experts in various activities. However, even after knowing that their services have no market, they continued to pursue the business plan hoping for a miracle. Finally, in 2017, Besomebody got bankrupt and was acquired by a Denver-based company.
The founder, Kash Shaikh of Austin, Texas, remarked, “ Our business would only work if “tens of millions” of people were booking one to two experiences per year, and that just wasn’t going to happen. People were using the app to book fun, one-time experiences, not to “truly learn” about their passions.”
#10 Incomplete understanding of SDLC
Most tech entrepreneurs begin the entrepreneurship journey with a “we will have it figured out” attitude. There is nothing wrong with having a bit of optimism, especially when you are on a big journey full of dreams. However, neglecting reality for optimism is not advisable.
Irrespective of you being a service-based or product-based startup, you must have adequate knowledge about Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) or Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC). SDLC consists of 7 stages: planning, analysis, design, development, integration and testing, implementation, and maintenance. Every developing software follows the same path.
A proper understanding of SDLC gives you countless advantages. Here are the most common ones:
- The project is designed with clarity.
- Proper testing is assured.
- Without SDLC, the loss of a project member can set you back.
- The project continuously loops around the stages until it’s perfect.
- SDLC model helps in streamlining the software development process
Being a metropolitan city and having a low cost of living, Dallas is the perfect place to start venturing your next tech startup. That’s why every year, tens of new startups seem to flourish in the city. However, one must try to avoid common tech mistakes to save time.
A famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt says,
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
We understand that the journey of entrepreneurship is a tough one. Many startups on this journey made horrific mistakes that took them to their graves. To save you from repeating the same mistakes, we tried our best to provide you with a concise guide of the top 10 tech mistakes to avoid as a startup entrepreneur. In case of any query or need for further guidance, do let us know in the comment section below.