Tips and tricks

10 Lessons of the Startups You Should Learn From
Jan 13

Challenges are the main theme of this year’s Startup Fair. And not by accident – they give a lot of valuable experience that helps every startup to grow and, of course, not to repeat previous mistakes. Why shouldn’t you avoid challenges in your path and how to use them to your advantage? Lawyer Giedrė Čiuladienė shared some valuable insights on the topic during one of the online Startup Fair sessions.

Giedrė spent many years working with startups and shared some lessons of the startups you should learn from. Why should we talk about mistakes in the first place? Giedrė gives three reasons:

  1. It gives us a quicker start;
  2. It is easier and cheaper to learn from others’ mistakes;
  3. The theory is summarized practice – you can learn a lot from practice.

Let’s get to the main problems that startups face. Giedrė starts by pointing out that founders always want their customers to be happy, BUT the creation of their product is usually based on their own experience and they don’t really understand the needs of potential customers. What could be the solution? Let your customers test your product before launching it. Talking about legal stuff, you should always keep your confidential information safe – always sign a confidential information agreement.

The second mistake, according to Giedrė, is being a feature freak – when you are trying to put as many features as you can. Always remember: your product has to solve a real problem and too many features may confuse your consumer. Better make the first version very simple and minimal and develop it with time. And yet again – be sure to keep your intellectual property safe and legal.

Giedrė points out that 99% of successful startups don’t end up being the products they thought in the beginning. And it’s OK! Never stop analyzing what your customers want and keep changing the product until THEY are happy.

Fourth mistake – hiring wrong people. Take only those who have the same mindset. On the legal side, choose the right type of employment contract, give a new colleague a probation period, and set correct and adequate goals.

Not launching the product early can also be a problem. Founders always think about launching the product and making it GRAND, says Giedrė. Startups may have the wrong thoughts that nobody cares in the beginning and that first negative feedback will have a very bad impact on the brand. Talking about the legal side, no company starts its activities from complete legal documentation and it has become a big headache to the lawyers. It is exciting to launch your product, but the paperwork is also crucial.

Sixt common mistake, according to Giedrė, is not researching your competition. Why? Competitors validate the market for you. If there are none, it raises questions: does the problem really exist? If it does, is it wide enough so that you need to create a new product?

Furthermore, startups expect to raise A LOT of money right away. But the reality is often different: firstly, you have to convince the investors that your product is worth the money. So, prove that there’s a market demand for your product and get a greater valuation. And remember the wider scope of obligations the investors have, the more rights they own.

Also, handling money incorrectly may become a problem too. So, here are a few mistakes you should avoid:

– hiring a ton of people;

– unnecessary expenses;

– insufficient reserve for unexpected changes;

– no or delayed payments from the clients.

And so… the investor backs out. Also, keep in mind that violating the investment agreement may result in a refund or penalties.

The final important thing – don’t neglect legal protection. According to the lawyer, you should: set up a company with correct shareholding, have a shareholders’ agreement, as well as employment agreements, intellectual property rights protection, and proper privacy policy.

So, what lessons did we learn together with “Triniti” lawyer Giedrė Čiuladienė? Make yourself sure your product is needed, work with smart, yet passionate people, and never stop learning! And, most importantly, remember – mistakes are not something that should stop us. They are the challenges that let us grow.