Below are the 5 things that you should NOT DO in a startup:
1- Avoid Losing Focus: Just focus in building your most important features that without them your product is not complete. Build a product with the least features (also known as your Minimum Valuable Product). Don’t add features just because you can or because one customer asked for it. In short, don’t end-up being a Swiss Army Knife.
2- Don’t Ignore Cashflow: How much cash you have in the bank is the most important financial number when you are in early stage. This number determines how much time you have before your startup dies. As a Co-founder your job is to keep your startup alive as much as you can, until you decide your-self to let it die. That means the founder should understand the cost structure very well. Every Startup have a monthly Burn Rate, understand yours very well, especially before talking to investors. You must read this article by Fred Wilson – Burn Rate: How Much?
3- Don’t Get Over Obsessed With Competitors: You’ll always have competitors doing something similar to what you are doing. Don’t worry about them and focus on what your customer want instead of what your competitor is doing.
4- Avoid Failing Slowly: Find out quickly if your product suck or not. Put your product in front of customers as soon as you can and start getting feedback and fix your errors. Don’t be shy if your product looks ugly or incomplete, just throw it out there and start running tests and get some insight from real customers. Look how bad was fishfishme.com home page 3 months ago (this was designed by me using Power Point).
5- Don’t Be In-Store-Good, be At-Home-Good: In-Store-Good means that your product looks awesome in the shelf with its packaging and design, but when you go home and use it, the product doesn’t deliver. At-Home-Good is a product that may looks just OK, but when you use it, you know it’s worth every penny. (This concept is taken from the book Rework)
In-Store-Good: To me Formal Shoes are the best example for In-Store-Good. They look great and feel OK in the store. But, as soon as you wear them for the first real mission, the pain makes you cry like a baby.
At-Home-Good: I think my fan is a good example for At-Home-Good. I bought it for US$15 ten years ago and I use it everyday (because I like the sound it makes, I know I’m weird) and it is still working perfectly!!
That’s the 5 things that every co-founder should avoid. Please read the original article by Ben Parr and continue reading the other two sins that you should avoid: Ignoring company culture and Not building.