What is the biggest beginner mistake

15 founders about their biggest mistake

We regularly ask founders to share their big and popular storiesEveryday founder interview. One question we ask every young or experienced entrepreneur is: "What have been the biggest mistakes you've made so far - and what have you learned from them?“Here 15 answers bundled in the practical overview.

We had a wild phase in 2016 when Appinio grew incredibly quickly. Unfortunately, we reacted to this development at the time with too many new hires, whereupon I had to fire some employees again shortly afterwards. I'll admit, these resignations were extremely tough on me. But I learned from it: Today, proper recruiting and an optimal selection process are extremely important for us. We make decisions with a lot of sense of proportion and, as an employer, we are very aware of our responsibility towards our employees.
Jonathan Kurfess, Appinio

My biggest mistake was not to part with employees quickly enough who either weren't up to their job or weren't fully behind the product. Without the necessary conviction about the product, the necessary passion for the job is missing. Incidentally, this is already evident in the application process. I reject applicants who are not even so interested that they have tried the product beforehand. As a startup, you can't afford to pull the wrong people with you.
Til Klein, Vantik

In the past, I have held onto a project for too long, even though I already feared in the MVP phase that it would not scale sufficiently in the end. So you should pull the plug faster - even if it hurts. That saves valuable time, energy and money. However, when something works well, you shouldn't waste time, but give full throttle and use the momentum. Above all, it is important to focus on sales and - if not available - you should always hire professionals. Another important lesson: You should always carefully evaluate exit opportunities and then, if you decide to do so, implement them quickly. A lot can still go wrong with an exit. Once - after six months of intensive preparatory work - a notary appointment just failed a week before the intended exit.
Thomas Bernik, rebike1

To think that I can learn anything from a book before I do. That often slowed me down. But coming from university, where you learn everything from books, I didn't know it any other way. In the start-up, however, the rule applies: learning by doing. You just have to jump into the deep end, because you quickly notice that you can swim well here too.
Valerie Henssen, Vegdog

I have been an entrepreneur for 10 years and I know that mistakes are part of the process. To name some: It has already happened that we trusted the wrong partners or held on to employees for too long who didn't really fit the task profile. I see organizational errors in the fact that the work was at times too poorly targeted. Ultimately, however, mistakes get us further - and we learn from them.
Sebastian Wagner, house gold

Basically, I've always been lucky enough to have a good intuition for people. Nevertheless, in retrospect, in some situations I held on to people for too long who did not fit well, whether as customers or in a team. I am now trying to counteract this with more openness and transparency so that discrepancies can be addressed and resolved directly. By far the biggest mistake, however, was that I didn't allow myself enough time for myself for many years and that there was no balance between business, family and myself. I became aware of this during a sabbatical and since then I have approached the subject very differently. Therefore, for example, the moments with my children are absolutely sacred to me. And if I can't be with them, then I want to do something meaningful during that time - like at Merantix, where we use artificial intelligence to develop companies and products that will have a positive influence on the world in which we live.
Adrian Locher, Merantix

Everyone only cooks with water. Point. When you look at that, you worry a lot less and then what you plan to do will work out too. Most people who want to found a company never start because they don't trust themselves or because they think everything down to the last detail and beyond. Just do it, don't worry too much in advance, that's my recommendation.
Daniel Schnadt, Gambio

I believe very strongly in human relationships and the dynamics that result from the right set-up of people and individual talents and teams. Unfortunately, wrong decisions also happen here. A start-up is a very sensitive construct in this regard. The problem is that you often don't recognize wrong decisions quickly enough, but in such a case you actually have to act quickly. My biggest mistakes were therefore not quick enough in some situations and sometimes situations too quickly to be adjusted. And if you have the chance to hire a fantastic candidate, then you should do it and, if in doubt, create a role for him.
Vincent Huguet, paints

It sounds like a matter of course, but it isn't: the investment is only secure once the ink has dried on the paper. Also, one should never assume that everyone understands the goal and priorities of the work. These can be basics like mission / vision statement, product value or something as simple as the goal of a team meeting. If the goals are not well defined, even the most irrelevant topic can take hours and frustration. Therefore you should always explain the goals in such a way that even the last one understands them perfectly.
Camilo Anabalon, Babybe

At the time, we thought that the platform had to be perfect, we thought it through well in theory, but we didn't get feedback from customers until quite late. What I have learned from this: how important the ongoing exchange with the market is. And that honest opinions can be decisive - positive as well as negative.
Johannes Laub, CrowdDesk

At Cluno, we haven't made the big mistakes so far, otherwise we wouldn't have come this far so quickly. My greatest learning from my two own startups is: As CEO, focus on hiring, fundraising, company vision and taking all stakeholders with you on this journey. And when the sea gets rougher, as is currently the case, keep the steering wheel firmly in hand.
Marc Nicolas Polleti, Cluno

Not being afraid of making mistakes has been the key to eToro's success. It is important to try new ideas and I always urge entrepreneurs to take risks even when other people tell them they are crazy. eToro had several false starts. Initially, my brother (co-founder Ronen Assia) and I thought gamification was key. But we soon realized that our customers wanted something that was simple and not playful. So we changed course and focused on giving people the ability to track and share their portfolios. This “social” element then evolved so that our users can copy other investors. This “copy functionality” has become our USP.
Yoni Assia, eToro

As a founder, you make a lot of avoidable mistakes, especially at the beginning. That is certainly annoying at first. But as I said: I think these are very valuable experiences that I would not want to miss. Mistakes - in the sense of things that don't always work directly - I still make today, otherwise I won't learn anything! But one insight runs like a red thread through all of my experiences: speed counts! Speed ​​sharpens the focus and at least helps to make mistakes efficiently. Trying things out quickly - whether on a small or large scale - is for me the key to the success of a start-up. You are always in competition, whether for users of your product or service, talent or capital. A fast pace helps enormously.
Alexander Mahr, Stryber

We used Bluetooth technology for our first product that we brought onto the market. Bluetooth is not a recommended standard for the development of tracking products if it is used as the main technology and not as a supplementary transmission technology.
Stefan Sinnegger, PowUnity

Anna, with whom I founded Profishop in 2012, and I thought for a long time that we would have to do everything ourselves. It was only over time that we realized how important it is to give up responsibility. Not only for ourselves, but also for the team. After all, giving up responsibility means placing trust in the other.
Arasch Jalali, professional shop

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