3 Cardinal Mistakes To Avoid While Building Your Startup

Aazar Ali Shad
2 min readJan 10, 2022

I’ve started 3 failed start-ups and helped 3 more startups grow from zero to 8 figures. I have played the game so long that I have seen these mistakes if you could avoid them. You’d drastically increase the odds of surviving.

Why do I believe this?

I’ve been in the startup market since 2015 and I have studied successful and failed startups deeply.

It’s a pure experience.

1 — Not choosing the right product for the right market at the right time

Sometimes your timings are off. Sometimes your market is off. With us, it was the product that was off. In 2018, GDPR was getting implemented. We created software that helps with the puzzle. But I saw that we actually built the wrong product.

Why? Our market didn’t know what they wanted. We were also not the expert in the data protection market.

So, make a product that you are an expert or want to be an expert on for the next 10 years.

Founders who get the product, timing, and product piece well. They have a higher chance to win.

2 — Shiny Object Syndrome aka lack of focus.

This is common in many founders. I have personally worked with 6 of them and I have seen this a lot.

They read something somewhere and want you to execute it.

How do you fix this syndrome? It leads back to your goal. If you are meeting your goal, don’t try to do much stuff.

Focus is willpower. Smart founders understand it.

3 — Not knowing when to quit

Many people talk to you about how you should not give up too early. Well, I think you also need to know when you should not give up too late.

I think our time is too valuable and so you should know when to quit.

So, how do you know when to quit?

If you see a loss in momentum for 3–6 months, you need to look at your chips.

Vlad Magdalin, the founder of Webflow, was struggling for struggling to get traction for 10 years but he didn’t quit. Why? Because he kept seeing the momentum was in his favor although people didn’t get the product or market.

So, the short answer is momentum. If momentum isn’t in your favor, quit.

Here’s something to remember:

Startup is like playing a video game. The more you play, the better you get.

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