Boy it’s tough to pick just one mistake.
But I’d have to say in both my startups, the biggest mistake was not taking the time in the beginning to get the founding team right.
This is tough. You want to go, go, go. You know perfection is the enemy.
But the all-in cost of founders leaving, transitioning out, quitting etc is so very high. Especially of founders in a mission-critical role.
I survived this in both of my startups. Barely. But slowing down at the beginning, and making sure we were all pointed in the right and aligned direction, and importantly — for the long-term — would have led to a much better and bigger first couple of years.
If nothing else, be very careful picking founders who aren’t as committed as you are. That’s not bad or wrong. Everyone is different. But ideally, you are not only insanely committed, but your co-founders are even more insanely committed 🙂
I should have made sure in both my start-ups, everyone on the founding team was not just great, but also truly all-in.
That would have slowed me down.
But we would have gotten there faster in the end, with less stress, better products, and less dilution.
Even if we’d started a few months later.
A little more here: A Simple Commitment Test For You And Your Co-Founders – SaaStr