Mistakes First-Time Founders Make

Startups are challenging because they require persistence, perseverance, and originality over long periods. While it may seem easy to accomplish these tasks in a matter of months, it can be not easy to continue doing great things for years.

Another characteristic of startups is the inability to access the right resources. It cannot be easy to balance resources when you are under-resourced.

Hiver has been a great experience. I have also spoken with many other founders. Given the amount of work and effort required to build a company, it is easy to forget these things. However, I have learned that it is possible to be very dangerous not to pay attention.

We don’t talk to enough customers.

Many founders create companies to solve problems they face. The other category of founders is those who seek out solutions from others.

The normal thread in the above examples is that founders almost always start with an immediate problem experience. This changes as the company grow and attracts more customers. Both the problem AND the solution are broadening in scope.

Founders increasingly use analytics dashboards to gain insight into customer behavior. Many of these founders lose their direct connection with their customers as a result.

Although the product, sales, and support teams will have many conversations with customers and founders can learn much from them, they don’t replace founders talking to customers directly. A founder would search for patterns and lessons that could be applied to conversations with customers from sales or customer service.

It is possible for founders not to speak directly with customers, leading to missed opportunities to enhance the product, better tailor sales and marketing to address market needs, or explore new markets and solve problems.

Being too tactical

Great founders don’t hesitate to put their hands up and do the dirty work. They can live in the trenches, and they work closely with their team. However, founders need to be able to look years ahead.

These can make it challenging to balance them. Most founders have a strong bias towards action. I’ve seen many of them lean more tactically. It’sIt’s easy to see that there are always more things to do than the long-term vision. There are always new quarters to make, new employees to hire, and new features to release.

All of this can lead to a company missing essential things in the long term. One problem I’ve seen in many founders is being too handy with product development. If you only have one quarter left to go, it can be tempting to meet the short-term needs of a few customers and create the exact product they desire. This could lead to the demise of the long-term vision of the product. This not only leads to confusing outcomes but also ineffective marketing and bad sales pitches.


There is a lot of great advice that can be given to founders by friends, advisors, and customers. It is available via in-person meetings and on Medium, Linked In podcasts, and other platforms. It’sIt’s all very well-meaning advice.

Why is this such a problem in the first place? Because most advice lacks context. By context, I don’t just mean a match with the product that the company is creating or the market it’s targeting. It also means a game with founders’ motivations and their goals for their companies.

The problem is compounded because many startup advice comes from people with a lot more authority and can deliver their advice effectively. This may not sound like a issue, but when you add in the sheer volume of such advice and its repetitive nature, it is clear that it can overwhelm first-time founders.

Don’t tell your story.

It’sIt’s true; even though it sounds corny, every startup is a snowflake. Every startup is unique in so many ways. You can learn a lot about the founders, their background and history, as well as how they got started and raised money.

Although a company may grow from a small entity with few customers to a much larger entity, each step of the journey brings unique challenges. Startups can be a source of thrilling tales, as well as stories about self-discovery and edge-of-the-seat terrors.

Stories like these can make a company more than a business. They become a living entity that people identify. It is easy to forget this, specially when founders are busy with the daily operations of running a business. This could also be caused by founders not being skilled storytellers or failing to recognize the value of their stories.

No matter the reason, founders are obligated to find a way for these stories to be told.


This will help you avoid making these common mistakes when you are a first-time founder. It will also reduce the stress and challenges involved in scaling a startup. You can stop these pitfalls by being aware of them and learning how to circumvent them. This will help you identify more growth opportunities and build momentum to increase your chances of making an effective company.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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