We started our journey in wrong direction and we failed to change direction with time.
Start-ups are hot talk these days and everyone want to start their own company. People read success stories but ignore the fact that more than 90% companies fail within 3 years of operation. Our startup SchoolGennie is one of R.I.P startup which we founded in 2013 but got shutdown in 2014.
Let me share top reasons of our failure.
1. No Market Validation
We wanted to build a platform for school listing & reviews but realized that parents research for schools in admission days only. Then we thought of doing something else for education industry. With little knowledge about schools, we decided to build online collaboration platform for parents and teachers.
We thought this was much desired product by education industry which can help building great relationships between parents and schools.
“Do market research (product-market fit) before writing first line of code”
2. Waiting for the perfect product launch
We could have saved lot of resources with early launch of product. Customers should have given opportunity to test demo version, even with shitty user experience and half baked features. We spent almost half year to come up with first demo account, which could have been done in first month itself.
“Launch MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as early as possible and keep improving product with feedback from early customers”
3. Following footsteps of competitors
When we launched our product we confronted with harsh reality, customers were not interested in our offerings.
We hired people from competitor’s sales team, we tried to sell with similar pitch, we prepared similar marketing material, we even tried to align our product features with competitor. Our efforts failed because we could not compete with competitors at points where they were good at — but we were not!!
“Focus on something you are very good at — but your competitors are not”
4. Spending money on unwanted things
Startups have to spend money on hiring talent and there is no alternate unless you have time to do things yourself. We spent too much on unwanted things like office, furniture and electrical appliances. We could have optimized expenses by running operations from our home.
“Spend money only if it helps in releasing software fast, test fast (customer acquisition) or pivot fast”
5. Lack of Vision
Ultimately we lost the vision!! We forgot why we started company and where it should be in two years or five years. We were saying something and doing something else. We wanted to collect students data from 1000′s of schools but we were trying to sell to top schools only. We were not having any clue of our key growth metrics, unit economy, sales conversion ratios or product road-map.
“Startups should keep eagle-eye focus on Vision and keep changing strategies and products to achieve end goal.