There are lots of business books and fields of study that provide advise on starting a new business. They do however seem to be a bit theoretical or vastly outdated. With this I am interested in hearing from you in practical and simple form...
I would like to know: "What was the thing that you forgot to take into consideration that had the biggest effect on your startup? Along with this how would you incorporate it in your planning for the next startup?"
Thanks for your answer, every piece of info helps build a more detailed and richer "puzzle".
In my experience, the most frequent thing startups neglect is to make sure they are solving somebody's problem. Having cool tech is wonderful, but if it isn't solving a problem it won't succeed.
Now "solving a problem" is actually a pretty broad statement, and can include everything from saving time or money, to providing an easier way to accomplish some task, to satisfying a desire to look cool or fit in. But in any event you must be addressing some pain point for your potential customer set. And the "pain" had better be tangible.
Otherwise you are either not selling something people will pay for, or you are a knockoff. Either way is a dead end.
I think the most common neglect is to get an exact picture of who your customer is and what (s)he wants. It is not because we ourselves are members of our own user community, that the other members want exactly the same. This results in a lot of waste, with features being built or services offered that (almost) nobody is looking for, and features/services that would sell like hot cake not getting built.
So I think the whole concept of Customer Development is what gets neglected most often.
I think it is being realistic about selling it. It's really hard to get a new product / app / service into people's hands. Real hard and it costs real money.
Most startups (or even bigger companies) do not have crisp and compelling answers to one or more of the following questions. A very common omission I feel is #2
These are very high level questions - but your answers need to be crystal clear, crisp and compelling.
The Value (from Question #1) can be expressed in terms of the basic elements:
If you can articulate these values - again - crystal clear, crisp and compelling, then you are off to a good start.
I think people get so excited about the product / new business opportunity, that they forget to discuss the partnership arrangements. It is easy to agree things (and write them on paper) when there is no dispute and no money - when one or other makes an appearance on the scene, things get complicated. Agreements are boring paperwork, so get an outsider to facilitate and make sure you cover basic eventualities, and that everyone understands the goals and roles the same way.