KC @KathyCourtland: What are the most common startup mistakes and how to avoid them?
The most common startup mistake is being afraid to make mistakes.
A few years ago I pitched an idea to Tony Conrad at True Ventures. This was the idea.
The first thing he asked, which I thought was very smart, was “what have you learned so far from the mistakes along the way?” I had no idea making mistakes was a requirement for a successful business pitch. I blew that pitch so badly that I shut down the whole business a week later.
Mistakes are ASSUMED. Look at Groupon. They started it off as a site to raise money for charities. They totally failed. Then they examined their mistakes and BAM! they became the fastest growing (revenues) company in history.
Among professional chessplayers, its commonly assumed that the ONLY way to improve is to analyze your mistakes. In fact, one world champion prepared for tournaments under conditions where he was almost guaranteed to make mistakes (he had someone blow smoke in his face while he played and he hated smoke).
So pray for mistakes. Hope every day that you will find mistakes in your website, your business model, your basic idea, the people you hired, etc. You will learn every day and if you keep the psychology of mistakes calm then in the long run you will be a winner. Which means in the long run you will be successful and rich.