The Most Critical Mistake Startups Make That They Don’t Even Know They Are Making

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Back in the day, I was lucky enough to work at an internet marketing agency for almost half a decade before I moved in-house.

In those five years I’ve been able to work with a lot of VC backed startups and help them grow from nothing to something. But let’s be honest, not every startup that I worked with made it so I’ve also seen my fair share of failures.

Although there are your typical reasons why a startup fails ranging from bad management decisions like scaling and expanding markets too fast to reckless spending where everyone in the office gets a $900 Airon chair. 

But there was one mistake I saw a lot of startups make that really led to their downfall. So what is it?

Hiring young, cheap, inexperienced employees is the number one mistake any startup can make when trying to grow revenue and maximize overall growth. 

Although recent college grads have high energy and motivation at level eleven, there is a lot of downside when bringing on a young, entry level employee during crucial growth stages when process driven application is limited and the need for creativity and fresh ideas is at an all time high.

You spend more time training them then you’d probably like to…

Every company has a training/on-boarding period but after the slight learning curve that every new employee goes through there is a time when you hand over the reigns and let your employees get to work.

Not with entry level employees. I worked with a startup where they brought on a new “marketing manager.” He always asked questions. Which is good because he’s eager to learn and since he was a client of mine I took the time to get him the answers he needed.

I figured after the first couple of weeks he’d be caught up on what we were doing for his company and the basic questions would taper off. They didn’t.

So it got me thinking…

If I was bombarded with an endless array of questions I could only imagine what the internal staff  had to deal with day in and day out.

This just goes to show that entry level people extremely large learning curves and will need a lot of hand holding which wastes your time and the time of other productive employees within the organization.

Team productivity actually goes down and meetings don’t accomplish anything…

I worked with a pretty well known startup located in San Francisco. I won’t name names but this walkie-talkie app had big VC money and a lot of potential.

I would attend meetings at their office in downtown San Francisco and it seemed like they had everything going for them.

Except they had a lot of inexperienced people on their marketing team.

Not only did they have eight or nine people attend every meeting we had – which is overkill – I felt like every one of their team members needed their time in the spot light.

I could see the office politics unfolding right in front of my eyes.

Instead of a meeting where we could actually get stuff done it was a meeting where members of their team tried to “out due” their co-workers to look good in front of the marketing managers.

So yeah, hiring young, inexperienced employees looks good on the balance sheet because they are so damn cheap. But there is some downside to it.

But there is one way to combat this epidemic.

If you don’t have the ability to hire experienced and well established employees then having a nailed down new employee onboarding process in place will set up entry level employees with the tools and resources they need to start

being productive members of the team.

I will be co-hosting a webinar this Thursday, March 19th @ 11am PT on how to do just that – how to create a structured onboarding process to boost new employee productivity.

Click here to register for the webinar. Spots are limited.

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