8 simple mistakes to avoid when building a successful startup

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July 11th 2023

8 simple mistakes to avoid when building a successful startup

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Running a startup is no joke especially in the early stages. From managing virtually everything (and everyone) while simultaneously focusing on company growth and success – your 9-5 hours start to lean more in the 24/7 direction.

So it goes without saying that there’s really no time for mistakes – even the small ones. This week on Parallel we’re spilling the scoop on how to build a successful startup and which traps to watch out for that will cost you time, money and morale.

1 | Having a one-size-fits-all mentality

What worked for one company won’t necessarily work for yours. Sure – there are millions of Forbes and Business Insider articles that advise on the latest ‘best ways’ to run a business – but it doesn’t mean these systems are a one size fits all.

All we’re saying is, don’t forget to look inwards. Allocate time to reflect on your vision, mission and principals and use these as pillars to guide you on what approach and strategies will be most effective for your startup.

2 | Acting in contrast to your vision, mission and principals

Remember: your vision, mission and principals are there for a reason. They give potential candidates, existing employees and customers an explicit understanding of what your startup is all about and what they should expect when working with you.

Not aligning these pillars with your behavior? You’re only hurting yourself and confusing others. Make sure to put your money where your mouth is! And when reacting and adapting, always follow the direction that will lead you to your North Star goal.

3 | Giving candidates false hope to lure them in

This is a mistake worthy of a red flag. Making false promises is the quickest way to get your employees ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘rage applying’ elsewhere. Think of it this way — what you say to potential employees is what entices them to join the team.

No one likes being led up the garden path with promises of promotions that never materialize. Pro tip: it’s always better to under promise and over deliver – not the other way ‘round!

4 | Not focusing enough on your company’s culture

The sooner you start viewing culture as a crucial factor for your company, the sooner you will attract your target candidates and customers.

As a matter of fact, 46% of candidates claim that a company’s culture is a big determining factor when it comes to applying. So don’t skip the seemingly small stuff – from team building activites to Early Finish Fridays in the summer months. Build a company with great culture and great candidates will come.

5 | Micromanaging your employees

We can assure you this — no one works best under constant supervision or when they’re expected to ‘check-in’ with you every hour of the day. Sure, you may be leading with your best intentions however, micromanagement is sending major “I don’t trust you” vibes!

Give your employees some space… actually, a whole lot of space! Instead of breathing down their necks, trust in your hiring decisions and trust in their skillset. Let them know you’re there for them when they need, and then step back to watch them shine.

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6 | Delaying or forgetting to give credit when it’s due

Do you remember the feeling of not being appreciated by your former employer? Or having a friend take all the credit for a group project you worked hard on?

A good manager knows that the more credit you give your employees for their ideas, the more invested and motivated they’ll be to do their best work.

Your employee is helping drive the bus to your company’s main goals every day, so make sure they feel like their efforts are seen or they may just hop off at the next stop. Don’t know how to show appreciation? We’ve got you covered here.

7 | Not keeping everyone in the loop

You might not feel the need to let your engineering team know the full 411 on this month’s content strategy but keeping everyone in the loop creates unity within the company.

Methods like collaborative brain-dumps across teams, shared OKRs and one core North Star goal is the key to blurring those dividing lines. Break out of your silos and share your information – cross-pollination always leads to better ideas. The stronger the team, the stronger the startup!

8 | Not being intentional with the hiring process

If your blind-posting your job listings anywhere and everywhere in hopes it will miraculously float past your dream candidate, then you are going about your hiring process in all the wrong ways.

Instead, be intentional. Take the time to fine-tune your needs and actively be on the lookout for those best suited for the position [link outbound recruiting]. This will save you from hiring the wrong candidates, which ultimately costs you time, energy and money!

To be honest, these are mistakes you typically wouldn’t make consciously or intentionally. At Parallel, we know that everything you do for your startup is backed with motives to build a successful brand.

In order for you to do this, you have to be self-aware and watch your every step carefully to avoid making mistakes that could chase candidate and customers away.

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