What are the most common mistakes that first-time entrepreneurs make, and how can they be avoided? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Tomasz Tunguz, Managing Director at Redpoint, on Quora:

One really common mistake is wanting to innovate on every dimension of the business. A startup creates a novel product. They decide they also want to innovate on their infrastructure. And reinvent the hiring process. And develop a new pricing strategy. Procure real estate in a novel way, run board meetings in an unusual style. Run a different style of fundraising process.

Innovation is addictive. Once we have a feeling of the dopamine hit from innovating successfully, we want to have it all the time. This is the start up bug. But like all good things, it needs to be consumed in moderation.

Innovating on a few key dimensions is essential to differentiating a business. But, it's also important not to reinvent the wheel in every dimension because it slows down the company, and potentially needlessly.

Iterating on a pricing model means reeducating the entire potential customer base about why the new pricing model makes sense. It might also involve changing the commission structures of the salespeople, and later on it may involve changing the commission structure of resellers or value added partners.

Redesigning the hiring process requires retraining every manager and every interviewer on the new hiring process. The downstream impact may be much slower hiring rates than otherwise.

I could go on and talk about other examples. But in summary, picking and choosing the key areas of innovation to invest in and focus on is really important.

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Published on: Sep 24, 2019