I think we both agree that startups need money to grow. Most startups know this and spend a good about of their time and energy focused on raising money. One thing I've noticed is no one ever talks about what to do after you raise that money.... or better yet, mistakes you need to avoid. Founders usually breath a sigh of relief after they've raised money, here's a couple of reasons not to exhale just yet:
Getting Comfortable and/or Believing Your Own Hype
Startup culture is so focused on raising money that a lot of the entrepreneurs I meet who end up raising money usually classify their ability to do so as validation that their company will be successful. After all, you've been successful at raising money and have gotten others to believe in this big crazy idea of yours so you must be destined for success right? Wrong.
While you do deserve a pat on the back for getting others to believe in your big vision it's no guarantee that you'll be around for the long haul. Don't get comfortable and understand that since you've raised money you'll likely need to raise more and now you are in a cycle of having to prove your business viability to your board and investors until you exit.
Believing your own hype can blind you of this very real reality. All investors want to see a return on their investment and they are looking at you to do so. This is also why not every business should seek a venture capital investment.
You Will Hit Unexpected Roadblocks
This is a given. You will hit roadblocks and things won't pan out like you expected them to. Some recover from this and some don't. It really comes down to if you've planned for this and even if you have knowing that there are somethings you just can't plan for.
When things start to get crazy you'll need to be able to take an honest look at the challenge and make a decision. It seems like common sense but a lot of entrepreneurs get paralyzed by making decisions simply because they don't want to mess up. Often times you'll be choosing between the lesser of two evils rather than between your ideal outcome and something you want to avoid.
Now that you have investors money a lot more is on the line. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not being honest with yourself when your initial assumptions aren't working. Entrepreneurs are naturally optimistic so you will likely always look at the bright side of things. It's important to do a gut check and also have a close network of people you trust to give you honest feedback and to check that optimism when things might not be as bright as you think they are.
Listen, there's no blueprint to success but avoiding simple mistakes live these can be the difference between life and death for a startup.