Startup founders are tasked with a unique set of challenges. In addition to building a product or launching a service from scratch, they need to attract an initial customer base, earn enough money to push the business forward, and secure investment deals. Although many founders are serial entrepreneurs, this is largely because they’ve made key mistakes along their visionary paths.
Technical co-founders and startup developers are instrumental to software startups, however, they tend to be prone to making mistakes that hurt the business from a product point of view. Understanding how potential pitfalls can hurt you puts preventative measures in place. Here’s what you should know:
DevOps is the philosophy is combining development and operations and automating development workflows. Over the past 10 years, DevOps has become synonymous with startups. However, some developers are still behind on this trend, despite that fact that it encourages transparency, code security, speed, and inter-departmental communication. In the startup environment, ensuring everyone is on the same page is more important than ever.
There are plenty of ways to implement this agile way of work, and a range of tools by jFrog and other DevOps software companies make this easier than ever. Even if you’ve got decades of development experience under your belt from other businesses, the startup environment is delicate, and if you ever want to compete in today’s business landscape, DevOps is the way to go.
Not Having a Business Founder
The majority of startups are not founded by a single person. Although launching a solo startup is more than possible, the challenges increase significantly when you’re running a business alone. A strong developer might feel as though they don’t need a business co-founder to carry the startup with them.
However, it’s important to understand that a business-minded co-founder comes with a slew of benefits that could easily mean the difference between success and failure. First and foremost, a co-founder can handle the bulk of startup work that isn’t fun for developers, like marketing and sales. This leaves developers to focus on code and building solid software. Additionally, you’ll be able to split the workload and gain valuable input from a different perspective.
Forgetting About Scaling
Every startup hopes to explore growth, and are continuously identifying opportunities to build. With that in mind, chances are you’re trying to push a minimum viable product as soon as possible. However, with so much pressure, it’s not uncommon for developers to overlook potential issues that prevent scaling from happening. If you want to avoid having to re-write large portions of your application later down the line, consider how your software will scale when you finally start seeing the growth you’ve worked hard for.
For example, let’s say you’ve created a software system that allows users to create their own profiles. An easy solution would be to use a web server to store user profile photos. But once you’ve grown to a substantial user base, you’ll need multiple servers and this could easily crash your existing system. In an effort to do damage control, you might implement a file synchronization service that could result in 404 errors and serious delays.
Rather than deal with compounding issues just because of profile photos, have a preventative solution in place for those future scaling needs.
Developing Without Enough Market Research
It’s natural to become so fixated and passionate about a particular idea that you rush ahead without enough market research. Just because you’re working with something you think is a solid product doesn’t mean it will be useful to other people. Having a cool concept doesn’t make a product usable. And unfortunately, failing to understand the market is one of the biggest reasons that startups fail.
For instance, if you want to build a software program for nightlife club owners, you would need to talk to dozens of owners yourself to understand their core needs, as well as understand the nightlife industry itself. This way, as a developer, you understand what features to include and what you should be prioritizing.
This is exactly what happened to Jordan Nemrow, who launched a company called Zillionears—a platform that connected musicians with fans and allows artists to generate revenue. Throughout their development process, they stopped turning to their core audience for advice on what to build out. In a blog post, Nemrow admitted that despite good feedback on the idea prior to development, users weren’t happy when the product finally rolled out.