10+ THOUGHTS & THEORIES (Pertaining to Pervasive Problems & Pitfalls)

~99% of Startups Fail… But, WHY?!? [ThoughtsOnStartups.com]

Our “INQUISITIVE 5-YEAR-OLD” Methodology
“Why did your startup fail?”
Well, because we ran out of money… 
“But, WHY?” 
Well, because investors wouldn’t fund us… 
“But, WHY?”
 Well, because we never found Product-Market-Fit… 
“But, WHY?”
Well, I guess some of our assumptions were wrong…
“But, WHY?”
… Well, maybe we were blinded by our entrepreneurial excitement, wishful-thinking, overly-optimistic assumptions, and…

Obviously there are MANY REASONS why Startups Fail. Below are the ones we plan to address via our ReThinkingStartups.com Improvement Initiatives.
(In No Particular Order)

Pervasive PROBLEMS & Prominent PITFALLS:

1) Mis-Matched Skill-Sets Among Co-Founders…

[more soon]

2) Lack of Self-Awareness in Founders…

[Preview] Most people have a good level of self-awareness when it comes to their abilities to play the piano or pilot an airplane — or how good they are at golf or ice-skating… But I believe many entrepreneurs have a terrible level of self-awareness — particularly when it comes to evaluating their ideas, vision, strategy… likelihood of product-market-fit and/or overall success potential… [To Be Continued]

3) Problems Stemming from WORDS & DEFINITIONS:

What is a Startup?? What makes you an Entrepreneur?? 
 — [Spoiler Alert: There are very few (if any) blogs, podcasts, advice, or “best-practices” that are intended for BOTH “Startup A” (a 30-employee B2B SaaS company with 7-figure annual recurring revenue, raising an 8-figure Series B round, at a 9-figure valuation, with aspirations of being a billion-dollar unicorn) AND “Startup B” (a pair of bootstrapping co-founders, working from coffee shops or co-working space, on their pre-launch MVP). Are they both startups?? Yeah, I guess so — but in the same sense that an ice cube and the Atlantic Ocean are both water? [Full Column Soon]
A caveat to everything I write is that EVERY STARTUP is different, EVERY ENTREPRENEUR is unique, and there is NOTHING (said/written by me — or Tim Ferris or Gary V. or whomever!) that can possibly apply to EVERYONE in EVERY SITUATION!

4) “Success” vs. “Failure”

Spoiler Alert: It’s NOT as obvious a distinction as you’d think! [Full Column Soon]

5) Would You Rather: A) aim for ~$25M, but hit $2.5M? -or- B) aim for $250K, but hit $2.5M?

Spoiler Alert: A = $2.5M and B = $2.5M but A ≠ B — (wait, what?) 
[Full Column Soon]


A Plethora of Problems & Pitfalls Pertaining to: “IDEAS!”

6) “There’s no such thing as a bad [xxxx]
Wait… What?? SERIOUSLY?!? If you wouldn’t say that about a “logo”, a “website”, an “app”, a “sales call”, or an “investor pitch”, then WHY do we say it about “IDEAS”?!? [To Be Continued]
7) Why (the F***) does every Entrepreneurship class or Startup Weekend or Hackathon orHow To Build A Startup” class start with: “STEP 1: Everyone come up with an idea.” 
[To Be Continued]
8) Not all “ideas” are created equal(ly?)… The difference between a regular “idea” and what has been dubbed an “IDEA+++” by ViralWhatever.com (creators of 40+ Viral Ventures, each reaching over a million people and collectively engaging ~495 MILLION people)
* Note: Replace “Viral potential” (above) with “Product-Market-Fit” for when virality is not necessarily a goal.

9) “What are you GREAT at?!? DO MORE OF THAT!!!”

[Several sports examples/analogies — Coming Soon] TEASERS: 
A) Michael Jordan: Basketball career vs. Baseball career… 
B) Why it doesn’t matter if Bill Belichick sucks at passing, catching, running, blocking, or tackling… [full column soon]

10) Optimistic vs. Realistic

… and why those “Never Give Up!” and “Winners Never Quit!” motivators can actually (often?)do more harm than good! [full column soon]

11) RISK-TAKING: To Celebrate? Or To Mitigate?

Successful entrepreneurs are often characterized as “Risk-Takers” — But, wait… The 99% of UNsuccessful Entrepreneurs Were Risk-Takers Too, Right?! [Full Column]

I always see photos of sad people sitting in front of brick walls. I can only conclude that brick walls must make people sad. #CorrelationVsCausation

11b) The problems/pitfalls of using OUTLIERS as benchmarks…

For every AWESOME (inspirational!) story of success that you hear, remember there are HUNDREDS (if not thousands?) of AWFUL (depressing!) stories of failure that you’ll never hear… (To Be Continued)


12) Funding Frustrations?

Spoiler Alert: MOST investments (in pre-revenue startups) are BAD investments!
[Coming Soon]


THEREFORE…

13a) YOUR Assumptions, YOUR Beliefs, YOUR Confidence [#ABC?] — can (unfortunately) NOT be taken as OBJECTIVE (about YOUR startup — because EVERY ENTREPRENEUR feels that strongly about THEIR STARTUP!) so they are simply not objectively relevant if investors (or you, yourself!) are attempting to evaluate your startup’s success odds — OBJECTIVELY!

13b) THE (only?) OBJECTIVE INDICATORS

(That a Startup Has Better-Than-Average Chances of Success)

1. Product-Market Fit (proven, not based on your assumptions)
2. Viral Traction / Growth
3. Repeatable Customer-Acquisition Model
4. Profits (or at least steady or growing revenue)
5. Funding. (Only for how it will allow you to grow — 
 — NOT because it’s truly as objectively validating as 1–4)

Yes, of course “Startups Are Hard” — but there are things we can do to dramatically increase the current success/fail rates if we start thinking (and re-thinking?) more strategically and identifying / addressing some common Problems & PitfallsBecause simply repeating all the same practices and processes of countless failed startups/entrepreneurs before us (and yet somehow hoping for different/better results?) sounds pretty close to Einstein’s(?) definition of INSANITY!
So, what do we recommend instead? 
Click for ReThinkingStartups.com Ideas & Improvement Initiative!
IamNOTaCEO.com (Entrepreneurial Epiphanies)
ThoughtsOnStartups.com (Thoughts & Theories)
ReThinkingStartups.com (Improvement Initiatives)
ViralWhatever.com (“We make Sh*t Go Viral” Secret Sauce)
Part-Time “Pursuit of Proof” Premises & Programs:
StarterStartups.com / MultipleBasketStartups.com / theSWANstartup.com
Practicing What We Preach:
18Startups.com / PitchingForPartners.com
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