3 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Mistakes Most Founders Make (And Can Avoid) | Tech News

I spoke with 3 successful entrepreneurs who talk about what mistakes they avoided and how it made them successful.

BY Robbie Abed – 17 Jun 2018

3 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Mistakes Most Founders Make (And Can Avoid)

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

You know who loves making mistakes?

Not me.

You know who makes too many mistakes?


I’m on a mission to make fewer mistakes. The fewer mistakes I make, the better right? So, I decided to ask 3 successful entrepreneurs on what common mistakes entrepreneurs make and how we can learn from them.

When I picked which entrepreneurs to interview, I picked the entrepreneurs who are in second stage growth of their companies and have some fresh mistakes to share. Some have created successful ones before and some of them have been working on it for 20 years.

Here are three things that I learned from them.

Don’t spend time perfecting an unproven product – launch as quickly as possible.

I like Mary Biggins approach when she launched her quickly growing startup MealPal. She is also the former co-founder of ClassPass.

Mealpal processes 10,000+ meals per day and is expanding quickly. On launch day she only had 100 orders. Here’s her explanation of how she was able to do that.

“Once we had the idea for MealPal, we tried to launch as quickly as possible. My co-founder and I set clear requirements for what was absolutely necessary for the MVP and cut what we could live without,” said Biggins.

“Getting it to market quickly (and with some rough edges) was way more valuable than waiting 6 more weeks to launch the perfect version of the product. You don’t really start learning until you are getting feedback from real users.”

Early in my entrepreneurship career, I made many mistakes which Mary’s approach would have prevented. I waited too long to launch and had spent too much time on everything you can imagine before signing up a single customer and getting any feedback. You can’t imagine how much time was wasted before I even launched!

Be like Mary, not Robbie.

Don’t give up too early – If you love what you’re doing, chances are you’ll find a way to succeed.

When is the right time to give up on something? There’s no scientific answer to this question, but I like what Mike McKim, founder of Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas had to say about this.

If you’re from Austin, there is a good chance you’ve heard of or have had coffee at Cuvee coffee, and if you haven’t, you might have seen the recent news of them launching a cold brew coffee with hemp oil in it, which is how I first got interested in talking with McKim.

“Be relentlessly persistent once you decide you want to do something. When you are discouraged, that is the time to take some sort of action. Stop seeking the approval of your peers. I use the term ‘coffee famous’ to describe the desire to be recognized by others in your industry. But at the end of the day, your peers and competitors don’t buy anything from you and would likely rather see you fail than succeed so don’t market to or make decisions based on them,” says McKim.

I thought I loved coffee. Do I love coffee that much that I’ll dedicate 20 years to grow a coffee company? That’s where McKim wins. He likes coffee WAY more than me.

Don’t hire purely based on experience – the best candidates are usually the hungriest to succeed.

Jade Global grew from a small founding team in 2003 to an award-winning company with over 600 employees and has appeared on the Inc. 5000 for seven straight years.

“I look at the potential of a candidate, not just how experienced they are. Through the years of hiring many people, I realized that my best hires were always the colleagues that weren’t experienced, but had the hunger to succeed. I started having a great sense of who was going to work out and who wasn’t. I was able to coach and mentor many of our early employees, and they turned out to be great leaders who are now doing the same mentorship to junior associates that I did,” says Karan Yaramada, CEO of Jade Global

Throughout many of my interviews, hunger is a common theme that comes up.

When I was promoted from a consultant to the director of IT, I was promoted even though I had zero experience running an IT department. I was hired because I was hungry and I showed the aptitude to run a team and help transform the IT department.

Of course, experience matters in some roles, but hunger and passion are attributes that shouldn’t be looked over when evaluating a candidate.

Now that you learned three mistakes from successful entrepreneurs, I hope you make three less fewer mistakes. If you continue to make mistakes, email me…I probably need to learn from your mistakes as well.

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