Josh Melick is a career entrepreneur, having had a part in the founding of multiple companies and being a former CEO of Broadly.com. In this episode, we discuss important topics that have been learned from past failures and successes. In addition, Josh has experienced the most common critical errors that new business founders make throughout his career.
Critical Error #1: Lack of Research
The first critical error Josh identified is a lack of research before starting a business. Josh specifically refers to a lack of customer validation and market research as crucial factors in being unable to pivot and adjust as necessary. Josh suggests that the best way to determine if a business idea will be successful is by talking with potential customers. While this may seem like common sense, it is crucial that founders genuinely understand their customers and what they want from a product before starting development on it.
Critical Error #2: Not Having a Technical Co-Founder
When starting a technology company, it’s crucial to have a technical co-founder who can take on the role of CTO. However, it is challenging for non-technical founders to build their product all by themselves and then scale that same product later without eventually running into issues. In his past experiences, Josh has seen both situations of the lack of a technical co-founder and having one; typically, companies with technical co-founders gain more traction in building out their products.
Critical Error #3: Teams aren’t Ready for Growth
Josh also noticed that many new founders don’t know how to scale their teams when growth arrives. Founders don’t know how to hire or train new team members on their business, resulting in many teams growing too fast and struggling to manage this growth. Without proper training of new hires, it’s very easy for them to become disinterested and lose motivation; the end result is that your growth never gets achieved.
Just like you learned back in high school, it’s vital to put in the necessary research and preparation before beginning a project. By doing this in the business world, you can avoid failure and disappointments later on in your journey by preventing costly mistakes early on.
Critical Error #4: Lack of Product Focus
Josh also identifies a lack of product focus as one of the most common critical errors made by founders. With new companies, you tend to start with grand ideas that encompass many different features and elements. This results in many products being built without any true direction or vision until it’s too late into the game. It’s very easy for founders to get caught up in their ideas and become blind to what they’re actually making, which can result in teams building out features that nobody cares about.
According to Melick, it’s crucial to identify exactly what your product will do before adding any bells or whistles; this way, you know your target users and customers and what they want and need to see in your product.
Critical Error #5: Founders Aren’t Using Customer Feedback
Another common mistake Josh has seen is founders not using the customer feedback they receive. This creates a vicious cycle where teams design their products based on opinions; however, without soliciting input from potential users, these ideas are often not adequately tested or vetted. This results in launching products that nobody cares about, which causes the business to fail.
As a founder, it’s crucial to identify your target customers and make sure you receive feedback from them during development, especially once your product is released to the public. By making this process a priority, you can avoid making costly mistakes that will cripple your business in the long run.