48 problems you need to solve as a start-up leader

Business | Design | Development | Marketing - 15th December 2019
By Pixelfield team

Being a start-up owner can be a headache sometimes. How to prioritize what is important and what isn’t? We’ve worked with start-ups for over seven years now and we have seen some of them succeed and some of them fail.

We have made this list of 48 things you have to keep an eye on so you can learn from other’s mistakes. Take a look and write down the areas you have some problems with, so you can decide what to work on next.

The idea

You need to make sure that your idea can stand in the eyes of future users. Before you start with the UI or UX design or hire developers for your start-up, make sure that you have defined your USPs and plans for the future.

  1. Single unique value. Define your unique value and USP. Don’t copy, be original and innovative.
  2. Roadmap to glory. Create and maintain a detailed roadmap of your product and releases.
  3. Proof of concept. Validate your concept and idea with the lowest budget possible.
  4. Get feedback. Gather feedback from friends, users and other industry players.
  5. Define the user. Define your target audience. Discover what your future users need.
  6. Why others failed. Conduct a comprehensive research and discovery phase. Cover your competition and predecessors.
  7. Meaningful partnerships. Connect with like-minded people with a similar mission. Get advice or team-up.
  8. Market developments. Keep track of how your target market progresses. Learn about every new competitor.


Managing your finances is going to be one of the areas you will have to focus on. From careful investors to hungry employees, you will need to balance your needs and possibilities, monitor cash flow and limit your spendings.

  1. Manage cash flow. Make sure to keep an eye on your cashflow. Manage your finances on a daily basis and step in whenever you don’t follow your plan.
  2. Track all spending. Keep everything in order. Make sure every little expense is noted.
  3. Limit expenses. Spend only on the things you truly need. Stay focused on what brings you value, don’t waste resources on gimmicks.
  4. Realistic optimism. Remain optimistic and build enthusiasm within your team but prepare for the worst.
  5. Efficient use of time. Track the time invested in all processes. Optimize the allocation of your team’s capacities.
  6. Resourceful funding. Acquire external funding. Identify potential sources of additional funding for later phases.
  7. Know your tax obligations. Make sure you understand relevant tax policies. Hire quality personnel or external services to handle taxes.
  8. Financial goals. Set clear and measurable KPIs and long-term financial objectives.


One of the key elements of a successful product launch is the methodology you choose. Make sure everything is clear and orderly. Define your goals and monitor your progress.

  1. Validate every new idea. Prototype and test every new idea or feature with real users.
  2. Be Lean. Build as little as possible, analyze the results and learn your lesson. Release as often as possible.
  3. Project management. Choose a project management methodology that suits your project and make sure everyone follows it.
  4. Prioritized backlog. Keep your issues in order, divided into releases and prioritized.
  5. Measuring progress. Measure the speed of your progress with story points and burndown charts.
  6. Clear roles. Make your rules stand out. Everybody needs to know what his role is and what is expected from a person in his position.
  7. Make use of retrospectives. Make sure your process is reviewed periodically in the form of a short workshop where everybody has a say.
  8. Define your KPIs. Clearly define your goals and KPIs. Measure them regularly and evaluate your progress.


The tech side is always tricky, especially when you don’t have technological back-ground a building of your start-up involves app development or web development. Keep those rules in mind, or you’re set for a disaster!

  1. Choose the right technology. Carefully choose the right technology that suits your project size, your team, budget and future plans.
  2. Document every step. Set-up your repository and push regularly, make sure your team comments on every function.
  3. Maintain quality. Implement test-driven development, code reviews and end-to-end testing.
  4. Infrastructure. Set up your cloud infrastructure and automate your deployment process.
  5. Continuous development. Plan small releases. Test new functions and deploy as often as possible.
  6. Great user stories. Take good care of your user stories. Make sure that they are easy to understand and execute.
  7. Ensure scalability. Make sure that your solution is scalable and sustainable.
  8. Automated tests. Implement test-driven development. Write tests first and run them automatically.


Your team is going to achieve all your goals and dreams if you work with it properly. Make sure everybody is on the same side. Keep your team motivated and in a good mood. Don’t let your problems to yourself.

  1. Empower the team. Make sure everyone on the team is heard and can contribute and make decisions.
  2. Resources plan. Carefully plan your work. Don’t overload your team members but keep your team size reasonable.
  3. Suppliers in place. Find reliable partners that you can work with, that are familiar with your project and can help you if necessary.
  4. Give feedback. Don’t keep your opinions to yourself. Make sure your colleagues know how happy you are with their performance and can work on their issues.
  5. Find time to study. It’s not only about working. Allocate some study time for yourself and for everyone on your team.
  6. Evaluate performance. Make sure to track time, performance and other attributes of each of your teammates so that you can find out who is helping and who isn’t.
  7. Keep it positive. Maintain a positive mood in your team. Motivate yourself and the people around you.
  8. Keep it open. Share as much information with your team as possible. Don’t hide your problems, goals and obstacles.


One of the common mistakes is forgetting how important and powerful marketing is. The quality of your marketing plan is going to decide what happens with your product when it’s ready for launch.

  1. Challenges you’re solving. Identify the problems your product will tackle. Define your mission and vision.
  2. Customers’ needs and wants. Understand your customers’ short- and long-term needs and aspirations. How can your product fulfil them?
  3. Study user behaviour. Collect data, talk to potential users and listen carefully. Learn all you can about their interaction with competing products and services.
  4. Map out the competition. Identify differences and similarities between you and competing products. Learn how they acquire and retain users.
  5. Position yourself. Find a distinct spot within the target market. Highlight your unique selling points and differentiate from others.
  6. Create a brand. Come up with a catchy and relevant brand name. Don’t stop investing time into building a strong, distinct, well-known brand.
  7. Draft marketing mix. Define your initial strategies and tactics that will help you build and nurture your user base. Make the plan flexible and revise it periodically.
  8. Networking. Connect with non-competing companies with a similar mission. Find opportunities for collaboration and marketing support.
Written by
Pixelfield team
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