Top 33 things NOT to do in your internet startup

Again, in no random order – however all great tips to make your startup fail.

1) Do not hire relatives if you are too family oriented. You will have a hard time staying impartial and will drive other employees nuts.

2) Do not hire unless you really have to.

3) Do not look for professional investment unless you have at-least a working prototype in place and more likely wait till you really really need it and have exhausted all your other resources.

4) Do not move to Silicon valley just because every other startup is doing so. It has it’s pros and cons – define what you need and make a judgement based on that.

5) Do not hire too many “managerial” type people too soon (if ever).

6) Do not tolerate anyone that indulges in any kind of office politics. Clean up the mess asap.

7) Do not rush to hire an offshore team unless you have experience in building one up successfully before.

8) Do not wait to fix hiring mistakes. People do not change, once you find that someone does not fit in, make a change immediately.

9) Don’t wait too long to release your product. Iterate quickly.

10) Do not let the entrepreneurial spirit die down in your company even as you grow big.

11) Do not hire a sales team before you have a completed product.

12) Do not encourage the use of email for small communication, let people talk it out and resolve things quickly.

13) Do not worry too much about failure.

14) Do not discount suggestions from your key employees.

15) Don’t rush to patent anything unless you have market feedback that it is useful.

16) Don’t write a 50 page business plan unless you plan to use each and every word to help you build the business.

17) Do not ever assume that things will happen unless you take the effort to follow up.

18) Do not get discouraged when you get a “NO” from any one (investors, journalists, employees, analysts, customers etc.)

19) Do not buy expensive furniture – or for that matter expensive anything unless you can demonstrate a clear ROI for having it.

20) Do not hire MBA’s for just their degree.

21) Do not eat junk food while you’re up late at night working on your startup.

22) Do not invest in expensive software if a free version can meet the need at least initially. Example: Do not get Webex if Zoho meeting can do the deal.

23) Do not start a startup just for the sole aim of making money.

24) Do not loose focus that your business needs to make money to survive.

25) Do not focus on building partnerships with large companies at least initially unless you have a good runway and enough cash to last you till you can get the deal done.

26) Do not hire people that cannot communicate well.

27) Do not assume how customers will use your product unless you’ve tested it with a significant size to back that assumption.

28) Do not neglect your family in this process.

29) Do not discourage people from trying out new ways to solve problems.

30) Do not take too long to make a decision, be ready to change direction quickly.

31) Do not eat alone, establish a relationship with the people you work with.

32) Do not assume what worked for you at the large company you worked for 5 years ago will work here at your startup as well.

33) Do not loose sight of the big picture and get caught up in the small things.


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