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Which are the best ways to destroy a startup? Check out these ideas!

It started with a terse update of mine on facebook and other social media sites where I asked “Which are the 5 best ways to destroy a startup”. I also asked readers to contribute their own reasons. The post blew up on FB and Linkedin and received about 270 additional responses from a motley mix of ‘been there done that’ entrepreneurs, professionals, investors and surely younger people burnt by the Indian Startup parade!

On Linkedin, the post has garnered 2.6 lacs views so far..

My own points to “Which are the 5 best ways to best destroy a startup” were:

1. Hiring people whose salaries are NOT linked to business returns
2. Assuming consumers are high class morons and will start paying after giving them freebies
3. Advertising as if you are competing with Unilever.
4. Raising money thinking it’s free ka maal. Capital raised in a frenzy and it the top of the funding curve BEHAVES the worst
5. Thinking that money solves all problems. Money is often THE PROBLEM.

Additional interesting comments via facebook:

Yogi Agarwal Being the first one doesn’t matter being the better one does.
Aakash Jethwani Considering “Nice to have” as a “Need”
Raj Chaudhary Giving away those CXO titles when you can count your team size on your fingers
Raje Shivraje Thakkar Founders fighting and / or not working together.
Ranjan Bothra Good product didn’t need to be marketed insanely..
Kalyan Kumar Having a bucket load of “yes men” from one’s supposed LTL persona and previous successes around one.
Yogesh Nagpal Having ultra fancy offices immediately after raising funding
Surendro Singh Insanely Believing in Co-Founders Ideas.
Raghav Rao Hiring a Consultant who draws up your Business Plan !!
lroy Serrao Building to exit rather than grow 🙂
Prince Agrawal Spending money on luxurious item from day one.
Dhruv Suyamprakasam Being covered in media once and feeling like ‘GOD’ thinking that startup would succeed cos of this.
Abhishek Patra Buying a brand new Mac even for the Telecaller 😛
Amish Mody Focusing on scale rather than product, service or customer requirement.
Himanshu Mody Having no clue what is Cash flow ? Those funded are worse off.
Swapnil Deshmukh 
Instead of defining your first 1000 fans, trying to sell to everyone..then getting nervous of rejections.
Abhishek Rungta Playing to the galleries (social media) instead of playing for your team.
Anoop Bhat 
No path to profitability. Sure you don’t make money TODAY but surely you hope to some day. Right?

Via Linkedin

Chetan Vashistth Acquiring other startups and increasing overheads.
Suchorita Datta-Panicker Serve a niche segment or demand, achieve success, then transform into a “me-too” company for the sake of scaling up.
Rajiv Gupta 1. Going after every shining object 2. Setting up processes and investing in resources is a waste of time 3. Employees are expendable 4. Just think about scaling, building a solid business is passe 5. Throwing money and people to every problem solves it 6. Only hire from IIT/ IIM that makes investors think we are building some serious business 7. Hire smart people and tell them what to do
Aditya Singh when in class I , behave as if you are post graduate.
Akshay Balgi Business Partying as if your revenues have taken over that of most MNC’s
Amit Arora Getting emotionally involved with your start-up can be bad. People get blinded just becoz its their idea, and keep on putting time and money, when they should have just pivoted or moved on
Manpreet Singh Giving priority to hiring based on education level, not the talent and hard work.
Sachin Bhatia Believing we know it all.
JAI SINGH Implementing all those ideas suggested by sycophants.
sridevi sira I wish to add – Disbelieving your idea and diversifying too early – “Too quick to startup something New” Thinking that things will just work over the night
Archana Chettiar Changing your mind after things r ready for execution. Putting forth too many things with the idea of success in all
Kartik Jain Losing sight of the ‘why?’
Michael Shearer Doing a bunch of things mediocre instead of one great thing.
Vrushabh SG Choosing Wrong Partners. My experiences says this!
Radhakrishna Nippani Thinking that – I Know EVERYTHING!
Vibhor Mehta Not having spoken to at least 10 people in a similar space who have failed in some way
Amitabh Sinha|Expert – Service Culture, Business Strategy believing the fairytale that ‘Raising Money’ is a business model 🙂
Robin Jacob Abraham Drifting…from one grape to another till you cry that all the grapes are sour!
Ravi Singh BMW with investor money.
Ravi Venkatraman 1. Chasing numbers mindlessly 2. Shoving some idiotic marker research repertory 3. Living in a Yankee world
Sharad Shah Letting VCs make too many changes to the core model
Puneet S Monga Add status value in the list
Kall Ramanathan 6. thinking that you know more than your technical team 7. expecting your team to work 24×7 because it is a start-up 8. not being focused on BD, assuming that you have a great idea and customers will fall over themselves coming to you.
Navaneeth Kini Expect concessions from Government at the expense of tax payer.
Soundaram Venkataachalapathy Inability to judge a mentor and believing that he or she knows everything.
Rakesh Kumar …and above all feeling of “SuperMan” who has solution of everything and feeling insulted in seeking help from others.
Meher Sarid Faking numbers to impress.

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I hope these prove useful to you. If you have additional points, add them as comments and I will expand the list!

(Image courtesy – FastCompany)

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1 Comment

  1. Ignoring the golden rule – turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is a reality !!

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