What are some early signs to recognize your startup is in trouble? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Thinking about some of the startups I've encountered, here are some signs that a startup is in trouble:
- Your investors provide you with advice, which you ignore, and then your investors lose interest and stop offering help.
- As the CEO, you're spending more time winning awards, mentoring other people, and travelling to speak at conferences, whilst your own startup doesn't grow.
- As the CEO, you don't understand the numbers (and have no desire to figure out the numbers).
- Dependency on first and only customer for a long time and you get very comfortable and complacent.
- You've built your startup to offer X, but paying customers don't want X, they want Y, which you could deliver on, but you ignore the pivot opportunity in hopes that customers will want X.
- You believe in "build it, they will come". When they don't come, you build another thing with the same approach of "build it, they will come".
- Other ecosystem, infrastructure, or customer behaviour pieces are missing, so your first-to-market strategy is much too early.
- When something doesn't go to plan or you get some negative feedback, you get irate, angry at anyone within earshot, and either freak out or panic.
- You're not a technical founder, someone else developed the technology, and you don't actually own the IP.
- Not enough cash, running out of runway, investors don't believe in you or your startup, and neither do you. This is a late sign, rather than early!
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