The Most Common Mistakes Startups Make

Starting a business is no easy feat. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about two-thirds of all businesses fail within the first ten years. While there are many reasons why startups don’t make it, there are three mistakes that are particularly common—and Carl Iberger believes them to be detrimental to the health of any young business.

1. Failing to Define—and More Importantly, Validate—Your Target Market

Extremely common mistake startups make is failing to define their target market properly. When you’re starting a business, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of who your ideal customer is and what needs or pain points they have that your product or service can address. Unfortunately, many startups make the mistake of assuming they know who their target market is when they don’t. Or, they narrowly define their target market and miss out on potential customers who could be a good fit for their business.

To avoid making this mistake, take the time to validate your assumptions about your target market through market research. This can be done in several ways, including conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups with potential customers, collecting data from existing customers, and analyzing data from third-party sources like demographic reports.

2. failing to create a comprehensive marketing strategy

Another common mistake startups make failing to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that covers all the different channels through which they can reach their target market. Too often, startups focus all of their energy on one particular marketing channel—usually whichever one is cheapest or most familiar to them—to the exclusion of all others. This can lead to suboptimal results and leave valuable leads and sales on the table.

To avoid making this mistake, take the time to develop a well-rounded marketing strategy that includes a mix of channels based on where your target market spends its time and attention. For example, in addition to traditional channels like print advertising and television commercials, consider digital channels like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. Using a mix of these different channels ensures you’re reaching your target market where they’re already spending their time online.

3. Failing to Put Together a Solid Team

One final mistake that startups often make is failing to put together a solid team of individuals with complementary skillsets and experience levels. Of course, building a great team is essential for any business—startup or otherwise—but it’s often easier said than done. People who are passionate about their business idea often try to do everything themselves instead of delegating tasks to others or hiring outside help.

To avoid this mistake, take the time to identify which roles need to be filled on your team and what skillsets and experience levels are required for each role. Then, once you’ve identified these requirements, start reaching out to individuals you think would be a good fit for each role on your team when building your team, looking for individuals who complement one another in terms of skill set and experience level so that everyone can contribute something valuable to the table.


Starting a business is no easy feat—but by being aware of the most common mistakes startups make and taking steps to avoid them, you can give your startup the best possible chance at success!

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