There is no exact roadmap for startups to take – you have to pave your own path to success.

The key to making sure you don’t end up lost is abstracting the fundamental building blocks of your business and focusing them in the right directions. Even if you take a wrong turn that seems right, your ability to climb above the horizon and verify your compass will allow you to pivot – malleability, patience and self-awareness will get you home.

Here are the top four wrong turns that startups make:

 

1. Making assumptions

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Stop thinking you are always right and that you know what your audience wants. Go out and ask your target clients what they want! Your clients are king and are the most important part of your business. Instead of pitching your ideas to them, find out what your clients think is the ideal solution to your problem and then build their needs and wants into your value proposition.

2. Not thinking sustainably

In order to have financial sustainability you need to know the competition, be confident in the environment and analyze the trends, whether negative or positive. Thinking about the external forces that could impact your business model is key to your longevity. Building scenarios and having preparation based on analytics will keep you confident and reduce the likelihood of you giving up. Having good tools to measure and manage your business will keep you not only well informed, but also prepared for changes.

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3.Blindly trusting

Do your own research and know what others are talking to you about. Being an expert in all aspects of your business is integral to not being taken advantage of or making decisions based on others’ opinions. You are your best advisor! The biggest area entrepreneurs lack knowledge in is finance. Understanding financial metrics and valuation concepts will put you one step ahead of the others.

 

4. Being ‘the boss’

Too often entrepreneurs become fully immersed in their venture and lose their self-awareness. Being a leader rather than a ‘boss’ will ensure that your team and business move forward. Gaining the right talent and keeping it is difficult; especially when your funds are limited. Opening up your mind to offering other benefits to joining your team and mastering flexibility in your leadership style will give you the best culture and business performance.


Want to learn more on how to avoid taking wrong turns in your startup journey?

Take our Value Proposition, Business Model Canvas, Finance Fundamentals and Leadership workshops in the MaRS Fall Intensive beginning October 5, 2016.

Apply now! The deadline to apply is September 30, 2016.

Learn More & Register

Neda Tocheva

Neda Tocheva is the Associate, Entrepreneurship Programs at MaRS. See more…