Why Are Startups So Hard?


Startups are hard not simply because they’re riskier or more competitive than established companies; it’s because startups have to do everything themselves. 

They have to think about what customers want before their competition does. They need to make sure the product is genuinely innovative and differentiates from the rest of the market. Most importantly, they need to be able to execute all these things at once.

Generally, all companies have a steep learning curve because everyone needs to get up to speed. Still, startups are notoriously tricky due to the need for every person in the organization to learn new skills quickly. In other words, it’s not an issue of growth or efficiency – it’s because every part of the company relies on many different parts at once.

Many variables can decide whether or not a startup will be successful, from the founders’ talents to their dedication and discipline. For startups to succeed, they need to find what works best for them and stick with it. 

Some startups decide on an idea and then start executing without ever questioning if this idea would work in the first place.  

With so many factors at play when deciding whether or not a startup will succeed, founders must take their time before making any big decisions about how they want their company structured.

Three reasons why startups are hard:

  1. One of the reasons startups seem so daunting is that most founders need to learn a variety of skills simultaneously, and one skill acquired is unlikely to trump all others in revealing a clear path forward. It’s often impossible for beginners to “see” how it all fits together, therefore, they believe that their approach will fail before they even get started.
  1. Another reason startups can feel difficult at first is that companies start small and grow branches from the ground up when looking for direction. This means that founders must create essentially everything from scratch – including infrastructure – which can be overwhelming in the beginning stages (<1000 employees). 
  1. Finally, startup founders need more than deep pockets to succeed – they also need the right talent on board and more than a little bit of luck. When you don’t have an established history of success or cash reserves on hand, getting all that takes some doing!

One of the essential qualities of startups is their leanness and ability to pivot when needed. This competitive edge is usually dependent on a fast learning curve to stay ahead. 

One study found that startups with larger learning curves outperformed those with smaller ones by an average of $10 million. Put another way, every time your company doubles in size, it will require twice as much experience as when it was half the size to continue producing at the same level.

Startups are challenging because they require a lot of effort, time, and money to get off the ground.  The process is never easy or fast, but it’s worth it for those who succeed in making their company profitable.

biggest obstacles millennials face in creating their own business us 2018
The struggling economy has forced many Millennials in America to take on side jobs or start their own businesses. In 2018, 38 percent said that they couldn’t afford the initial costs of setting up shop and nine percent didn’t know how it all worked when asked about starting a new venture.

Why Is Launching A Startup So Hard?

Launching a startup is not an easy task, and it takes time, money, and dedication to create a successful business in the competitive environment we live in today. But many people take on this challenge and succeed, and for them, it was worth every ounce of sweat equity they put into their venture.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you they often descend into what psychologists call “survival mode” – a state of heightened alertness and fear response – when they become afraid that what separates them from their goal might be eroded or nonexistent. 

That feeling can haunt them for days, weeks, months, years if it isn’t channeled effectively. The approach entrepreneurs take towards survival mode depends on how they respond to pressure. 

Good companies know this about themselves and find ways to manage the fear so it doesn’t dominate their decision-making process; great companies use survival mode as fuel for action – willing peril or peril unwilling – to drive innovation with urgency.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from those doing well with startups, it’s that the only way success can be achieved is through a whole lot of hard work and belief in your idea. 

The first rule should be this: don’t make excuses for yourself. If you think nothing will work out, don’t believe in yourself at all and give up quickly once something goes wrong somewhere else, then don’t even try to start a company because chances are you’ll break down sooner than you succeed. Launch your startup – go for it!

Why is Startup Marketing So Slow?

Strong copywriting and word of mouth tend to be the most skilled drivers. If you want to see successful startups grow, you need strong encouragement from those who have gone before, those who now work at those startups, and those people in your social groups. 

For instance, if two people love one of your products and suggest it to a friend or share it on Facebook, that can be a special mining operation for potential customers and members. 

A common fact is that most startups don’t have the development resources experienced with email marketing. 

Startup founders are typically inexperienced with all of the components necessary for successful email campaigns or how to use analytics effectively, so most resort to Facebook advertisements and wait for them to convert into revenue.

There is hope for startups who have already picked up some steam and are working hard at building their name recognition in certain niche areas. While it may seem like traditional media outlets like Forbes and Fast Company give startups no love (and in all fairness, they don’t), these days, online outlets such as TechCrunch and Mashable write breaking news about startup companies every day, which means opportunities exist for well-spoken entrepreneurs with a knack for public relations to make something happen.

Startup marketing is slow because startups start small and grow over time. It can be difficult to budget for a large company when you’re just starting, but if the customer base grows, it will make up for any losses in startup costs.  

At this stage of business growth, it’s much more important to focus on getting customers than spending money on advertising campaigns or other forms of outreach that require an upfront investment. 

Marketing should always have a long-term goal in mind, so there’s no point investing too early without knowing what your potential return could be down the road.  

The best thing you can do at this stage is getting feedback from your target market and use their input to guide how you move forward with future marketing strategies – they know better than anyone.

Is Slow Growth Better For Startup Marketing?

If you’re a marketing manager for an early-stage startup, it can feel like you’re in the midst of an uphill battle. With limited resources and time, how do you get your message out to potential customers? 

There are many paths that marketers take when they start on their own. Some will focus on content marketing, while others invest heavily in online advertising or social media campaigns. But there’s one approach that some marketers swear by slow growth.   

Many would say this is not the best route because slow growth means slower revenue growth, but it has its benefits if done right. 

Slow growth strategies allow startups to develop long-term relationships with customers through more meaningful interactions, increasing loyalty, and more vital word-of-mouth referrals.

Slow growth is often better for startup marketing because it results in less cash outlay and direct labor. You can use this to your advantage by building a client base more gradually, effectively targeting specific demographics, and most importantly of all stay profitable. 

Remember, the goal of marketing is not always to sell something as quickly as possible but rather to “shape” how people will come to think about you/your product so that they continue buying from you or recommend that others do likewise.

Do Startups Need To Grow Fast?

In the past, startups were expected to grow as fast as possible. However, a significant shift is happening in how startup success is being measured. Nowadays, entrepreneurs realize that it’s more important to focus on long-term sustainability and profitability than short-term growth at all costs.  

Here are some reasons why:   

  • The cost of running a business increases with size so you’re better off with less overhead initially.  
  • If your product is profitable you can reinvest those profits into scaling up your company instead of continuing to depend on outside investment capital for funding.  
  • You’ll have the opportunity to keep employees happy by providing them with competitive salaries and benefits packages if they work for a successful company.

As opposed to fast growth, long-term sustainability is more important for startups than for more giant corporations because startups don’t have the financial resources of an established business.

A startup company is a new venture set up to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Given the uncertainty of success, long-term sustainability plays a pivotal role in determining whether or not that company will be successful – and thus remain sustainable.

Why Is Startup Impact Not Measured?

Like the startup effect and the pace of change in startups, startup impact is notoriously difficult to measure. This may be due to a lack of robust metrics or because they’re looking for an index on how well companies are doing at creating new industries.

This means it’s hard to tell if there’s more startup activity these days or that more people are willing to admit they’re trying their hands at entrepreneurship. It could also be that entrepreneurs are spreading out into more sectors, meaning that we no longer need only Silicon Valley success stories. 

Three reasons why startup impact is not measured:

  1. The idea that startups often fail causes discouragement among the people who could potentially end up starting one, which decreases the odds that they do so.
  1. The hurdles for incorporating a company (and its associated costs like lawyer fees and filing fees) make it difficult to take the step of incorporating without having anything in place to warrant it yet, which can lead founders to believe there’s no tangible benefit to doing so.
  1. It’s hard for anyone person or organization to measure – not because of stigmas like fear of seeming incompetent but because there are too many business variables at play.

It’s essential to keep in mind that startups go through various waves. You might think about it as a seedling, then a sapling that turns into an adult tree.

As the startup matures, many are sold or acquired by large corporations looking for innovation. This is why milestones are so important – you want to measure how successful your endeavor has been so far against these milestones – this tells investors if they’re going to put more money down on the table. 

Another reason measurement is crucial with startups is that you can track ROI and profitability based on market conditions for financing options.

To summarize, startup impact is not measured because there are many difficulties and complexities associated with measuring it. The best way to measure a company’s success would be through an assessment from investors themselves, as they have been more closely involved in the process than anyone else can claim to be. 

In addition, this type of measurement still has yet to consider how much customers value startups or their products which could also prove insightful for those who want to invest in them going forward.


It takes a lot of time and effort to launch an innovative product that is good enough for the market. Startups are tricky because they don’t have access to all the tools or resources to succeed in their industry.

They’re not for the faint-hearted, but if you have what it takes and want to change things in your industry or solve a problem, then launching your startup could be exactly what’s missing from your life.

Quick Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Can a venture capital CEO be a startup founder?

No, a venture capital CEO cannot be a startup founder. A venture capitalist’s job is to source and fund new investments from different industries. A founder would have been the one who incubated all of that original idea into something worth investing in themselves so that it would be inconsistent for the same person to both holds two such jobs.

Do early adopters make a successful startup?

No. Early adopters are innovators and risk-takers, but that doesn’t always make them the best founders for a company. Typically, they’re more interested in tinkering with new technology than in running an actual business. Successful founders need to be compassionate visionaries who can see the potential of their ideas while building out their plans while still having enough grit to face challenges head-on when problems arise.

How do you know you’re the wrong person for a tech startup?

It’s more of a feeling than anything else. Often it’s about how you fit in with the manager and staff you meet, like if your culture and theirs don’t mesh or if they seem too bold and honkey-ish (could be either on the manager end, the engineering end, or both).

Does the serial entrepreneur also come up with the business idea?

Every entrepreneur is motivated by their own unique set of desires, goals, fears, and ideas. For some entrepreneurs, the business idea is entirely new (i.e., never before thought of). It may be an extension or different incarnation of an idea they’ve already had success with for other entrepreneurs. And for still others, the picture may grow out of a hobby or something else entirely. 

Regardless, many entrepreneurial-minded people enter the process with an appreciation for entrepreneurship and extensive experience in other domains like law, finance, and IT that will prove invaluable to getting the company off the ground successfully.

Is an angel investor allowed to give you the startup idea?

It’s a good rule not to take anyone else’s idea and turn it into a company, and it’s best to come up with your original ideas. If you want to produce something, make sure that the product is something you like or need yourself. 

You’ll know more about what works and what doesn’t work than how someone else would ever be able to guess. An idea doesn’t count unless it has traction in your life outside of your intellectual daydreams.

Is the startup failure dependent on the profit margin?

How much profit one makes has a lot to do with the business cycle. During recessions, when there are fewer transactions in the market, traders are less willing to buy stocks for sale. Conversely, during prosperous times when many people are spending money on goods and services, there is more investment in the market for traders to purchase stocks from when they think they can profit from them in the future.

Venture capital firm vs. venture capitalist difference?

The difference between a venture capital firm and a venture capitalist is that firms provide and manage financial resources for investments, whereas “classic” VCs offer the same resources and take an active strategic role in running the company.

Do startups fail mainly due to customer acquisition?

One of the most common reasons that startups fail is a lack of customer acquisition. It’s usually a mistake to underestimate the time and effort it takes to grow a company from scratch without any marketing budget.

Can fintech startups have a solo founder?

Although a fintech startup can have a solo founder, it’s not recommended. There are obvious downsides to being the only founder of an organization. Such disadvantages include having no one to bounce ideas off, taking on significant responsibilities, and speaking for the company in public settings should the need arise.

Is the startup owner responsible for the startup failure rate?

The rate of failure that novice or small company entrepreneurs will fail is significantly higher than for larger, more experienced enterprises.

To become a successful entrepreneur, do you need startup experience first?

Much-needed entrepreneurial experience is a great starting point. But the key to building a successful company is to have a good business idea and make sure your product or service solves a problem people are likely to buy.

Should aspiring entrepreneurs learn from failed startups first?

It’s good to learn from successful and failed entrepreneurs, but it’s even better if you can find a success story to lead by.

How are a business failure and vanity metrics connected?

Vanity metrics are any data point used to gauge your company’s performance. For example, the number of likes your Facebook post has received or how many people clicked on one of your ads can be vanity metrics.

Business failure occurs when the business owner begins to have difficulty managing his finances and will eventually not pay his overhead costs for at least three consecutive years. The death spiral into bankruptcy occurs if proactive measures are not taken quickly enough.

Should a hardware startup focus on product market fit first?

In general, product development is a long-winded process. It’s pretty standard for a product to take at least 12 months from the point of a first investment until a release or saleable prototype debut. And that doesn’t even account for the time needed to refine that prototype into something that can handle production. 

For many startups, their money will have run out before they achieve the level of production they need – and it’s precisely this prospect which necessitates working on both marketing and product simultaneously as part of any timeline planning.

Is a new business startup worth it in 2022?

A new business should be a risk worth taking for anyone who wants to pursue their passion. There are countless examples of successful people who started a small company and went on to achieve success. Success could even mean different things for different people. It could be as simple as earning enough money from the business to pay the bills, or it could be as glorious as being listed on one of those top 10 wealthiest persons in America lists.

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Wasim Jabbar

Hi, I'm Wasim - a startup founder and proud dad of two sons. With 15 years of experience building startups, I'd like to share my secret to achieving business success - quality marketing leads. Signup today to gain access to over 52 million leads worldwide.

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