I’m going on my 5th year of running my own company, so it’s been fun to look back at all the mistakes that I’ve made.
With my first startup Parrotview, the biggest mistake we made was not using the Lean Startup methodology to see if anyone even wanted our product that we spent so much time building. (No one wanted it.)
I started my second startup LaunchBit, an ad network for email, only after experimenting with many other ideas with my friend and co-founder Jennifer. For LaunchBit, from day 1, we’ve been able to sell ads and get feedback to improve. And, since then, we have continued selling and growing. But, it’s taken us a while to get on the growth curve we’ve wanted to be on. In large part, it’s because it takes time to forge friendships with potential customers and partners — you don’t get to be best friends with people overnight. And with that trust follows business. In other words, we’ve grown recently, because we’ve gotten to know our audience and vice-versa.
I don’t regret the time it’s taken to cultivate these relationships. But, in so many ways, the biggest mistake I made with both Parrotview and LaunchBit are the same. I didn’t build an audience or relationships in my market before starting my company. And, your ability to do this is really what puts you on the right track to understand how to build a successful company. Build relationships with your key partners and target audience before starting your company.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made with your startup?
Elizabeth Yin is the co-founder of LaunchBit and is from the Bay Area.