Five Mistakes Engineering Startups Should Watch Out For

Engineering Startups

First-time entrepreneurs, especially those from non-business backgrounds such as engineers, often struggle when starting out. They may have had a career in one particular field which they have excelled in which can mean if their startup fails it seems all the more unreasonable. Often this is down to an understanding of how entrepreneurship works.

There’s a misconception that simply having an innovative idea is enough to make it profitable. Though there are many courses, coaches and online tutorials which help people to understand how to develop a great startup, first-time entrepreneurs continue to make the same mistakes.

Failing to generate a Software Design Document

Every successful business should start with a planning stage. Understanding what it is that you want to do with your technology and where you want it to go is crucial to getting through the first stages. This starts with creating a dynamic Software Design Document.”

The SDD is a way of laying out all the ideas and challenges of the technology. It is a good way of sounding out the idea and detecting issues with the tech. It should contain a brief description of the application, how it will be implemented, who or what is needed to get it off the ground and any contingency plans if it fails to make an impact. 

Focusing on the long term rather than the short term

All entrepreneurs want to see their business grow and compete. But the optimism that comes with developing a new idea can get in the way of taking the practical steps to ensure that the idea becomes a viable business. The reality is that without focusing on the short term gains there is little likelihood that the long term goals are going to be realized.

Granted, it is important to develop a business with an eye on scalability. Building a strategy without at least considering what happens when the business grows is bad planning. However, getting overly concerned with future plans is detrimental to dealing with present issues. 

Confusing technology with product

For passionate engineers, developing new tech is an exciting prospect. We want to tell everyone who will listen about it and cannot wait to see it in people hands. But what engineers often lose sight of is that technology is only as good as it’s application. The technology itself is not a product, and a good product may require a collaboration of multiple technologies.

Engineers can get so caught up with optimizing the tech that they often forget about developing its wider application. When developing technology there should always be an end goal in mind, and that end goal should be what people are going to do with it. 

Obsessing over new technology rather than working technology

In addition, this obsession with technology can affect how we develop our product. Sometimes we get excited over new gadgets and apps that we can use to aid us. But when we use new, untested technology to help us develop our product we run the risk of slowing down or ruing production.

Instead, we should always seek to find well-used, widely supported tech to develop our product. It means we can spend our time developing instead of debugging. 

Failing to diversify skills within your startup

A startup business needs all the tools available of any other business. Though an engineer is important to creating technology, they are not always the people to sell it. Without a diverse skill set, there’s every possibility that your startup will fail in the earliest of stages.

It is worth getting a sales and development team on board when starting out, or, if you cannot afford to do this, invest in some good quality sales and business training.

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