9 Critical Success Factors Startup Founders Always Forget
Slow growth after a certain point is a sign of a lack of product-market fit.
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What is something that most first-time startup founders do not realize? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
- It almost always takes at least 24 months to really get off the ground from Day 1. Almost no one budgets enough time, and founders quit before it even really has a chance to get off the ground. More here: 5 Non-Obvious Things To Know About VCs | SaaStr.
- You can't hire some magic salesperson to "get you more sales". You have to figure it out first yourself. The answer to your problems is not a magic salesperson. Once you have 10, 15, 20 customers... you can hire someone to help. But the magic will be implementing the playbook you already figured out, just full-time.
- Free and Freemium are not marketing strategies. Just because your product is free, or has a free category, does not mean anyone will find it. Freemium is a funnel management strategy and done right, later it can accelerate viral acquisition. But putting up a new, free product on its own will get you zero customers.
- If your co-founder is not as committed as you, he/she will leave, and before it really takes off. It's not worth it, or at least it's almost never worth it.
- Slow growth after a certain point is a sign of a lack of product-market fit. If after say $8k-$10k in MRR you are still growing slowly, you don't have true product-market fit ... even if the customers you do have are happy. You need to iterate more. You may be close, but you don't really have a product the market is demanding. Not yet.
- First-to-market matters, but so do many other things. Focus instead on being first to do something important 10x better. Mailchimp was not the first email tool. Qualtrics was not the first survey tool. Asana was not the first project management tool. You need to be 10x better at something important. Be first-to-market on that. More here: