Why do most startups fail?

By Tarek Kamil of Cerkl

I’m frequently asked, “Why do you think most startups fails?” I’m on my 5th technology-based startup and I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way. Yes, of course you need to build something that people want AND they are willing to pay for BUT that’s not why most startups fail.

Most startups fail because the founders have not adequately anticipated the amount of time and work required to survive UNTIL they figure out the path to success.

While I’m coming from a technology perspective, this is true for all types of new businesses. The analogy I like to give is that when you start a business, you have been dropped into the middle of the ocean and you can swim in 1 of 360 degrees to find land (success). The problem is that you have a limited amount of oxygen. Most founders swim as fast as they can in 1 direction (odds of success, you guessed it, 1 in 360). Next thing they know, they’re out of oxygen (capital) and they drown.

The path to success is NEVER a straight line.

The common trait among startups that succeed is that they are using the least amount of resources possible to answer questions about their business model, product, service and constantly repeating that process. If I had to pick just one trait to look for that would predict your chances of success, I’d pick your ability to solve problems. Starting a business is nothing but one problem after another. Not just the big questions around product, pricing, marketing, messaging, etc. – everything is a problem. When should you open an office? When do you hire? How much do you pay?

What’s the takeaway? To maximize your chances of success, be quick, lean, flexible and have go into it with a passion for critical thinking and problem-solving.