Dear SaaStr: What Are Some Common Mistakes Made by Less Successful Entrepreneurs? 

Mistakes less successful (but not total failure) entrepreneurs make:

  • They can’t control the burn rate. You can slow down time if you raise a bunch of VC money, but you can’t stop it.
  • They hide from tougher metrics. High churn, lower-than-hoped margins, low NRR, low CSAT, high burn, etc. The best founders run toward the tougher metrics, and improve them. The rest sort of hide them, or hide from them, or ignore them.
  • They settle on mediocre VP and other key hires. We all make hiring mistakes. But the best founders don’t settle when they hire a mediocre VP etc. The rest settle and move on.

  • They settle for slower growth. Almost everyone has a tough phase. But the question is: do you fight your way out of it? Or do you sort of accept it?
  • They let better-funded competition pass them by. Capital does not always = the winner in a category. Less successful founders use the fact their competitor has raised more as an excuse.
  • They let themselves get burnt out. I do have empathy here, but the best founders recruit the help they need so they don’t get truly broken and burnt out.
  • They don’t hire a truly great CTO and dev team. Sometimes, in SaaS, you can get decently far with a good-but-not-great engineering lead and team if the CEO can really sell. But it catches up with you. If that’s you, go fix it.


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