Dear SaaStr: What Are the Top Mistakes You See New Founders Make?

My short list:

  • Not picking a great co-founder. There’s almost no point in picking one that isn’t truly, truly great. Nice isn’t enough. Fun to work with isn’t enough. You like working together isn’t enough. “Knows how to code” isn’t enough. “Good at sales” isn’t enough. They need to be truly great. Like, one of the best folks you’ve ever met great. That great.
  • Not picking a co-founder as committed as you. Even if they’re strong, they still leave in 12–18 months, 24 max.  More here.
  • Not interviewing enough potential customers. At least 20-30. You might think you know what your potential customers want, but usually you are at best 20%-30% right.  More here.
  • Not having a plan to make it at least 24 months. How will you get at least that far? If you don’t have the money, etc. … then it’s just not enough time to hit that first inflection point in SaaS at least.  More here.

  • Not deeply understanding the competition. There’s always competition. At least for budget. And just because they are 10+ years old, doesn’t mean you’ll just magically win.
  • Not having a strategy to get those first 10 customers. How will you do it? They rarely find you.
  • Spending too much time fundraising — from the wrong people. It ‘salways hard to raise funding, and in many ways, it’s hardest of all in the very earliest days. You have to make it 24+ months from launch, but talking to the wrong people just wastes too much energy. Still, you have to make it happen.
  • Being just too slow. I see this too often. The time is ticking to get that v1 out. to get those first 10 customers, to get going. Some of us have the luxury of a lot of time, but most of us don’t. And too many folks are just … too slow.

A classic related post here.

oh no image from here

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