Why startups fail

The first and most important problem that both domestic and foreign customers do not understand is that programmers do not build the concept of your project, its ideology, and architecture. At the customer, it just does not fit into the head, how can this be at all. This is explained, in principle, easily – 98% of customers have nothing to do with IT. The concept of the process of creating a new project is not only vague but generally perverse. Built on their guesses, some stereotypes, and personal inner understanding, it seems to them that life is arranged exactly as they thought up to themselves. And most importantly, nothing can be done about it. It is impossible to convey to a person that everything is completely different from what he imagines. Attempts to convey the truth begin to destroy the fragile world of the customer, destroying all his illusions at the root. Therefore, many do not want to take a sober look at the problem and ruin their invented dreams that only programmers need to give some half-hearted idea, then tomorrow the customer will become a successful startup and millionaire.


The second problem, which is also important, is that the vast majority of customers cannot realize the fact that the Terms of Reference (TOR) is necessary for programmers to create the project itself, and not to calculate the cost of work and, accordingly, the budget. I encounter this problem every other day. A certain customer turns to the development team to calculate the cost of the project. As an explanation of the project, the customer is trying to convey his idea to the developers with beautiful speeches and active gestures. And he sincerely wonders why programmers send him to a system analyst. Most often to me.


And what happens in the end? Instead of realizing the importance of the fact that the concept of a new project is the most important part, that without a technically competent approach, the project will be doomed, some customers are already trying to “wrest” the cost of the project from me based on a few words about its coolness and necessity. When they understand that they will have to invest in the development of technical specifications, concepts, ideas, and architecture, they try to look for anyone behind me: at least programmers, at least some freelancers, it’s not even clear at all who will promise them a cool project without words documentation and for cheap.


The third problem is a complete misunderstanding of the purpose for which a specialist is hired. Intellectually developed people clearly understand that if they hire a high-level specialist, then they need to listen to what they are told and advised. But this is ideal. And in everyday and cruel reality, the customer very often tells the specialist how it should be. And even kill yourself, explaining that this is not right, will lead to problems in the future, etc. Like I am a customer, I need to know better, do as you are told (at that moment I remembered a wonderful comedy about Bradley’s armored car in the film “Pentagon Wars”). And here some contradictions already come into effect: to lose the client or to spoil your reputation.

The fourth problem is not understanding the golden rule of business. If there is no money, then do not start a business. In the 90s, such an anecdote was relevant: “Two new Russians meet. One says he wants to buy a stew composition. And the second one says that he will sell it without any problems. We agreed to complete the deal in a month. One went to look for stew, the second went to look for money. ” Decades pass and the thinking of many does not change. And if a business for sales and production is at least clear to many, that if there is no money for it, then there is nothing for people to take out their brains with their dreams, then many do not understand it at all in IT. And thinking is something like this. After all, I can download any pirated software online for free. After all, most of all CMS is free. So what should I pay for when creating my startup ?! They say that I’ll have enough $ 500 to create my social network, etc. This is especially well-fueled by all sorts of amateurish articles by young bloggers who tell how, with the help of the WordPress self-installation, they “rose to heaven.”

The fifth problem is a sincere belief that using standard software you can solve complex custom tasks. I also encounter this problem quite often. Many people believe that it is enough to buy some kind of program and with its help, it will be possible to create your startup or just make money easily. For example, in one of the articles I wrote about the project of the Best-House real estate portal – “Start-up on your own. History of the creation of the real estate portal” So for him, I wrote my unique parser for feeds of real estate agencies. Moreover, it eventually became very complex with an intelligent recognition system, logging and much more. But some of my friends went the other way. We bought a certain program (desktop) that does parsing certain data and sincerely believe that it will work. But while there are 100 real estate objects, it is easy to parse in semi-manual mode. But when there are hundreds of thousands of them, then you can safely put an end to your startup.


There are many more problems, here are five main ones.


So to summarize.

1) To create your startup, you need to understand the process of creating IT projects yourself very well. It is necessary to build a structured plan that will be broken down into clear steps. And go step by step, stage by stage.


2) To assess the budget of your project, you need to create a detailed ToR. If you are not able to do this yourself, you will have to hire a specialist. A competent specialist will take a lot of money for this. For example, I charge $ 30 per hour for developing documentation for a project. And the time can take from 50 hours to hundreds of hours, depending on the complexity of the project. This means that to understand your costs, you still have to bear the costs. Here is such a vicious circle.


3) If you don’t have money for the project, then it makes no sense then to twist and stir something, trying to do good for yourself at someone else’s expense. System analysts, architects, project managers, and programmers are not fools or idiots! Many customers, for some reason, think differently. You should not try to deceive people who, at least, are much more experienced than you. If there is no money, then either look for a sponsor, investor or forget about your dreams. No one will work for free, or for a future share in the project.


4) Do not try to make the project the same as that of competitors. Even if you make it better, you simply cannot financially promote it. I know what I’m talking about. Make unique startups.


5) If you do not have a documentation package or, at best, you have some pages with interface drawings and web pages, and you immediately contact programmers who immediately take up work. So you know, you set the check and checkmate. What you thought about the project, how it should be, and how you made it are two big differences. You do not prove anything to anyone, and no one will listen to you.


Of the main, perhaps all. Be responsible and pedantic. There are no trifles in startups. Do not rush and do not rush from one extreme to another. The owner of Ali Express walked 15 years to success, slowly and systematically. Have a cold head and a warm heart – and you will succeed.

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