Why Many Startup Founders Fail: Get your startup in shape
TheCodeWork Team | 7 June 2023
Table of Contents
URL copied to clipboard!
Share this article
Reading Time: 8minutes
Getting your startup in shape is very similar to getting your body in shape. For example, Let’s talk a bit about myself here – I have been on the weight loss journey a couple of times. And every time, I have been following the same set of rules and workouts. The outcome has never been as expected. The thing is, I kept doing the same thing till someone advised me on changing the routine. Or perhaps, get help from a professional. I think this is a common human behavior – to keep doing things in the same way but expecting different results every time. A lot like how many entrepreneurs who perceive their business sense without asking for professional help. Exactly why many Startup Founders Fail. Let’s see how similar we all are!
Now for a matter of fact, we all know that – startups are the epitome of new ideas. They represent the essence of innovation, that propel new ideas into reality.
Yet, it is important to acknowledge that just like the shaping up your body, building a startup is never without obstacles!
This initiates major points of frustration for startup founders. The perpetual feeling of uncertainty. I mean, isn’t that natural? Imagine being on a strict diet for a month and the weighing machine readings stay unchanged. Ughh!
I hope you can clearly see that the key element of discussion here is to identify the problems and find ways to overcome it. Isn’t it? So, let’s unravel the reasons why many startup founders fail. Don’t you worry, we will also explore the unrelenting frustration they face on their journey to success.
How Constant Frustration Undermines Startup Founders
Firstly, lets check what are the common questions that startup founders encounter.
Will the market embrace my product?
Is it good enough to raise funds?
How do i survive the competition?
Now here’s the trick:
If early stage founders are stuck in the loop of these questions, they should seek professional help. I am sure, this would help them discover the MVP approach that answers all these questions.
Be it in the gym or in business, constant frustration can gradually wreck the foundations.
Five Reasons Why…
So let’s not stretch it further and dive into the problems and their solutions immediately. Ready, set…please wear your running shoes already!
1. The Myth of Overnight Success
TVF Pitchers, anyone? Okay, Shark Tank anyone? Well, I am sure you must have found inspiration in either of these or both perhaps! What you see there is the glamor tip of a startup and not the journey.
But let’s set the record straight: “Overnight success is as absurd as building abs by hitting the gym for just a day.”.
Ignoring the Journey:
Overnight success stories often overlook the years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance that led to that point.
Always, acknowledge the significance of the journey and the iterate process that led to that pinnacle of achievement.
How would you do that?
Join Startup communities where founders and entrepreneurs discuss and share ideas and everything related to the domain. You can check out our own startup communities on LinkedIn here –
Finding the right market fit is a crucial aspect of building a successful startup. Very much like choosing the right set of workouts and diet for your desired body frame, no? I understand, trust me.
Okay yes, i will explain what a product-market-fit is. It is simple, okay? It’s basically about your product fitting the market. You obviously don’t want to open a McDonald’s in front of a gym, right? Or would you? *Winks*
The significance of finding the right market fit cannot be overstated. This is because it will directly impact your startup’s growth, profitability, and long-term success.
You obviously have to research the gritty bits of the market if you want to know whether your product fits the market. I mean that’s the first and only step, right? If you compromise on this front in any way, it will affect your entire product/startup. Many startup founders fail, because they miss this crucial step.
And what’s the best way to do this? Building an MVP. It will help you reach out to your target audience, identify your niche market and iterate the product as per your customers.
How much better can it get?
Hey wait, before you hop to the next section. I have gathered an example for you, where a startup failed due to lack of a product-market-fit.
Juicero was a company that created a high-tech machine worth $400. Basically they provided diced fruits and vegetables, which the users had to put in those machines. The machines would crush and make juice out of it.
So what’s the problem?
Well, the users were easily able to crush the diced fruits and vegetables to make juice instead of using that expensive machine. Juicero was mocked heavily across global markets.
Here you see, the importance of understanding and meeting the market needs for your product to succeed.
So, Don’t let the product market fit challenges hold your startup back. This shouldn’t be the reason why startup founders fail. Trust me!
You anticipated this, didn’t you? Well, money is a problem everywhere. So what’s the solution here? TAILOR THE PRODUCT AS PER YOUR AVAILABLE FUNDS, simple! Okay, I didn’t want to get hyper there. But why is this a repetitive problem every time? I don’t understand!
Have issues with funds? Build out a basic product with the core features and test it in the market. Once it generates revenue, keep adding user validated features and scale up. SIMPLE!
I mean I go to the gym that I can afford and do not share my gym with celebrities. Why? Because that’s how I tailor my needs as per my budget.
Startups often have limited capital, I agree! But then again if you don’t invest the bare minimum in your product, why would the investors? Get some results from the market and see how you can self-sustain. I promise!
Let’s say you get the funds, or may be you are self-sustaining, okay? Then comes the task of resource allocation.
From setting up different teams to operational costs, this can be resource intensive. So try and outsource initially as much as possible. I really have to talk about our startup ecosystem here. From tech to marketing, from funding to branding, we have you covered.
Finding and assembling the right team can be a challenge for early-stage founders. It’s crucial to hire individuals who not only possess the required skills but also align with the startup’s vision.
Remember how Steve Jobs used to ruthlessly fire his team mates who failed to share his vision? That’s the level of precision you need in team building.
Delegation and Empowerment:
Delegation is the key! I do not perform workout of hands and legs at the same time on the same day. Isn’t that for everyone? You delegate it throughout the week, don’t you? High five there!
So the problem arises when startup founders struggle with delegating tasks and empowering team members to take ownership. The fear of losing control or the belief that they can do things better themselves can hinder growth.
And if you happen to be in that space, please move on to delegation. If you build a good team, this can’t and shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Lack of Adaptability and Innovation
I am sure you do not want to copy ideas, come on! And those startup founders fail when they do this exact thing. What’s stopping you?
See there can be a 100 eCommerce platforms that you know of, but there are a 1000 eCommerce platforms that have failed to make the mark. You can obviously be among the 100, but I am talking logic here and not motivation. *sighs*
Stagnation and Irrelevance:
You either adapt to new technologies and strategies or you simply keep iterating. Otherwise stagnation and irrelevance flows in. and this happens to be a major reason why startup founders fail.
Pro-Tip: Customers are drawn to innovative solutions, and if a startup fails to keep up with the pace of change, it can lose its competitive edge and market share.
Exactly why I am saying – STAY UPDATED! You can also subscribe to TheCodeWork’s Linkedin Newsletter! We keep writing about latest tech trends, so you may get a good overview.
Case- Studies – Interested, are you?
Here are two of my favorite success stories which sheds light on the results of sleepless nights and immeasurable working hours:
In the early days of Apple, the company faced numerous failures, financial struggles, and internal conflicts. As you may already know, Jobs himself was ousted from the very company he co-founded.
During his time away from Apple, he continued to refine his leadership style and expand his technological knowledge. He gained insights into managing teams, fostering innovation, and creating products that seamlessly integrated design and functionality.
Under his leadership, Apple underwent a remarkable transformation. He reimagined and streamlined the product lineup, culminating in the iconic iMac, which revolutionized the computer industry.
This success was followed by a string of groundbreaking innovations, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. All of these propelled Apple to become one of the most valuable and influential companies in the world.
Again, Blakely faced numerous rejections and obstacles when she introduced her revolutionary shapewear concept to the world.
When she initially pitched her idea to potential investors and industry experts, she faced skepticism and rejection. The prevailing sentiment at the time was that the market for women’s undergarments was saturated. It was difficult for a newcomer to make an impact.
She immersed herself in market research, learning about fabric technology, design, and the specific needs when it came to shapewear.
As Spanx gained traction, Blakely’s innovative shapewear captured the attention of women worldwide. With its comfortable, body-enhancing design, the brand quickly became a sensation.
So yes, startup founders fail, but some of them emerge from the ashes too. Just do the right things and do not miss out the power of network building. Join online communities, talk to people, power up your networking.
Yes, the gym session is almost over here! I hope you understood the pointers and related to the analogy too.
To summarize your homework as a startup founder,
Build an MVP to test the product in market
Connect with like-minded professionals on LinkedIn – join online communities
Funds are never an obstacle – your decisions may be – so, iterate
Please follow these set of basic rules and let us know if it worked (i know it will!). And in case you need to talk about any of the pointers, we are here for you.
Our Content Team at TheCodeWork believes in quality content. We write everything related to startups and products at large. We publish our blog every alternate Wednesday. Subscribe to our newsletter to get notified of our awesome content.