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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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3 Common Startup Mistakes - And How to Avoid Them

Startups are agile, exciting, and risky. Getting from a startup to a large company requires a bit of luck, a lot of skill, and the wisdom to avoid common mistakes - like these three.

Trying to do too much

Your company serves a very specific purpose. That purpose (probably) isn’t payroll management or IT. And while having control of your company’s operation and direction is a big part of the appeal of startups, it’s easy to try to do too much in-house.

Smart startups outsource things that are outside their core competency. That can mean everything from telecom expense management to branding and logo design. Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re conceding that your team can’t do something - it’s about understanding that your team shouldn’t do everything.

Ignoring best practices

When there are just a few people on a team, it’s a lot easier to keep track of what’s going on. That’s part of what makes startups so agile: everyone has the information that they need at their fingertips, and small teams tend to know each other’s habits well. Particularly in tech, this makes it tempting to ignore best practices. But as your company grows, your organizing principles will be magnified. If your product has messy, disorganized code, or if you ignore monitoring, logs, technical documentation, and other essentials, then you’ll be in more extra growing pains as your company scales up.

Fractured teams, fractured visions

Startups are small, so each person matters - which is why hiring well is so important in startups. And each member of your small team will be there because he or she believes in the vision that your company has. Early on, a vision may be just about the only thing that your company has!

But visions can evolve, so you need to be careful to keep everyone on the same page. Maybe your company will reposition itself as time goes on - or maybe individual members of your team will start to see the vision differently than you and the rest of the team do. The easiest way to avoid this is with constant communication. Remote work is a great tool in work-life balance, but beware of keeping your team too fractured. If you don’t want to demand a set number of in-office days, consider hosting extra teambuilding and social events. Stay in contact with your team about high-level visions, not just daily tasks. With everyone working on the same vision, your startup is more likely to avoid common pitfalls and emerge as a leader in its space.

 

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