Published on July 12th, 2016 | by Jose Vasquez0
5 Bad Assumptions to Never Make in Startup Tech Companies
Bad assumptions can set the stage for errors, poor direction, and inevitably, failure.
Assumptions are a necessary part of doing business. Of course, you try to ground your business and your decisions with as much real information as possible, whether that information is derived from researchable data or experiential factors, but there’s always a gap between what you know and what you don’t know. Assumptions close those gaps and allow you to make “best guesses” that help you dictate the next steps your business can take.
However, making a bad assumption can be devastating. It’s the equivalent of building a bridge on a shaky foundation and then attempting to cross it safely. Not all bad assumptions are preventable, but there are five common and particularly bad examples that you’ll need to avoid in startup tech companies:
- Your target demographic is correct. This is a trap many new entrepreneurs fall into. If you have a particular product and you envision a particular type of person using it, the relationship may seem natural and logical. But don’t mistake this for fact; it is only an assumption. To be clear, you should do some market research in advance to challenge your own preconceived notions.
- Your product is good enough to launch. You’ve gone through the efforts of development and have spent some time personally testing the product, so you might assume it’s okay to launch. However, your internal abilities to test are limited because you’re so ingrained in the product. Test with actual potential customers before launching.
- Your team will stick around forever. Even if your partners and team members seem loyal, never take it for granted that they’ll stick around forever. Have contingency plans and backups in case they leave prematurely.
- Your cash flow will be fine. This is one of the worst possible assumptions because if you’re wrong, your entire company can go bankrupt—even if you’re profitable on paper. Pay close attention to your cash flow every month.
- Your idea is gold. Most entrepreneurs believe their idea is flawless. However, this is rarely the case. Be aware of the faults your idea inevitably has.
As you guide your startup throughout its first few years of growth, be sure to avoid these five bad assumptions. Ground as much of your decisions and expectations as possible in objective facts, and if you can’t support your assumption with measurable data, it might be a good idea to throw it out.