We asked some of our top Experts for advice on “What is in your opinion the biggest productivity mistake that start-ups should avoid?”. Here is what they said:

Expert advise from Barry Maher Having been involved in a number of start-ups, the one biggest productivity mistakes I’ve seen is squandering funds that could have been used for additional personnel and worthwhile resources on overpriced office space or luxurious appointments that have absolutely no impact on productivity or on customers. I’ve watched companies whose customers never see their offices waste hundreds of thousands of precious capital remodeling old warehouses and buying the latest and coolest office furniture, when they should have been developing their business in a garage someplace. – Barry Maher

Expert advise from Millard MacAdam Failing to regularly assess, create and maintain a relative balance between the key business functions of Leadership, Management, Marketing, Sales and Service to both internal and external customers. When over focusing on increased productivity, an imbalance between key functions leads to lost dollars because of products sitting on the shelf. – Millard MacAdam

Expert advise from Keith Thirgood Wasting time on anything other than sales and product/service delivery. Too many start-ups think they must do everything themselves, as they can’t afford to hire specialists. Every hour they waste doing someone else’s job is an hour taken from making their next sale or delivering the sales they already have. – Keith Thirgood

Expert advise from Maggie Currie The biggest productivity mistake for start-ups to avoid is naive optimism in capability.It is all too easy to say yes to everyone and end up swamped with work you cannot complete, becoming stressed, miserable and ill. But never be ashamed of your progress or performance. Learn from it. – Maggie Currie

Expert advise from Sue Stockdale The biggest productivity mistake that start ups should avoid is not recruiting good people at the start because you think they cost too Much. A wise investment will Reap rewards in time as you can focus on utilising your strengths and have others to plug the gaps in your talents. Accelerate progress and do what you are good at. – Sue Stockdale

Expert advise from Diane Helbig Schedule times twice a day to check your email. Otherwise, turn off your phone and close your inbox. This allows you to focus on the task at hand. Deal with email on your schedule not everyone else’s. – Diane Helbig

Expert advise from John Agno After working with hi-tech entrepreneurs for several years now, one major failing keeps surfacing — too many have a fatal marketing “blind spot”. These entrepreneurs thoroughly understand their technology. They may well be on their way to mastering the engineering and operational issues involved in delivering their product or service. Yet they persist — often until it is too late — in believing that the marketing issues are relatively simple — because everyone will surely love their new product or service as much as they do. Only after that product or service is “ready” — or worse, after early sales attempts have bombed — will someone like me get a call. Of course, at that point most of the money’s gone. Sometimes huge amounts! There’s neither time nor money to do a competent marketing plan, let alone execute it — and the venture fails — needlessly. In my experience, this marketing “blind spot” is the single most common cause of hi-tech startup failures — in fact, I’m starting to believe, more common than all others combined. – John Agno

Expert advise from Peter deLisser The biggest mistake is they are sure the product will sell! Then they discover THEY HAVE TO SPEND MOST OF THEIR TIME SELLING, Something they have not studied nor emotionally want to do. – Peter deLisser

Expert advise from Dominic Rubino Hi the biggest productivity mistake for start ups is when you focus on anything but selling. I often see people tweaking their product or worrying over small incidentals instead of laser focus on being in front of customers and selling.Period. – Dominic Rubino

Expert advise from Laurie Taylor Hire first for how the person fits in with the team and second for how competent they are. You want to find people who believe in your vision, your energy and your idea. Embrace chaos, inspire your employees. – Laurie Taylor

Expert advise from Ed Sykes Trying to do everything yourself. The entrepreneur should concentrate on doing the activities that complement their skill set and delegate other activities to other experts. For example, many times an entrepreneur will spend hours on how to design a graphic whereby all they needed to do was to delegate/hire a graphics designer to do it in minutes. – Ed Sykes

Expert advise from Larry Klein Focusing on infrastructure before sales. Cash is king and if you cannot prove that your product sells, then don’t waste time or money on anything else. – Larry Klein

Expert advise from Danny Creed Not staying 100% focused on selling their product or service. Many startups get too easily distracted by spending time on low priority activities and thus waste time and effort. Then find themselves struggling and stressed because they run out of money or have not sales. – Danny Creed

Expert advise from Dave Davies Busy doesn’t mean effective. Use a tool, record what you do with your time and vet it. You may learn that a lot of time is spent on unnecessary tasks while the key to profit is being ignored. – Dave Davies

Expert advise from Chris Majer Start up’s rarely die from starvation – running out of resources. Instead they die from over eating – trying to do too much too soon. When you have a great idea for product of service focus on getting it in shape to go to market and generate revenue. Yes there may be hundreds of other potential uses for it but they won’t matter if you don’t get the first one up and running. Stay focused! – Chris Majer

Expert advise from Richard Walsh Too much time spent on the “big” picture. Focus on income producing activities that will grow your business right now. Cash is still king and without it your start up will quickly become a dead dream. – Richard Walsh

Expert advise from Paul Donehue I’ve found the biggest productivity mistake a start-up should avoid is to focus too much on operational issues rather than the importance of making sales. “Nothing happens until somebody sells something,” said Arthur “Red” Motley. Very true! – Paul Donehue

Expert advise from Craig Klein Start-ups should avoid spending too much time on anything that doesn’t bring money in. Weeks or or months can go by in planning sessions for marketing, product design sessions, etc. without anyone focusing on establishing relationships with customers, partners, etc. Even a startup without a working product can begin making connections in the market place and forging partnerships. – Craig Klein

Expert advise from Pat Mussieux Biggest productivity that start-ups should avoid is checking e-mail first thing in the morning. That is someone else’s agenda! Instead, focus your first hour on a revenue-generating activity to grow your business!! – Pat Mussieux

Expert advise from Roger Trivelli Without a doubt the biggest mistake I have seen start-up owners make is selecting partners and co-founders too quickly. Before choosing a partner/co-founder always ask yourself if you are greater than the sum of your parts. – Roger Trivelli

Expert advise from Rahul Onk Focusing too much to create the perfect product or service before letting it test out. Even large companies do a test product distribution and see the response and tweak. Taking insights from customers before hand is most important, if you don’t want to waste your productive time in creating a perfect product according to your eyes. – Rahul Onk

Expert advise from Harish Chauhan Start up leaders often spin their wheels because they don’t have a realistic yet worthwhile exit and secure expertise that takes them there. What’s your exit: Sell the IP, sell the business, seek investment then scale, grow organically or go IPO? Get help and save yourself bruises along the way. – Harish Chauhan

Expert advise from Rohan Bhatt Startups usually tend to take generic positive reviews as a prospective order or a potential buyer in the initial stages without proper research which finally leads to the mistake of putting in all the working capital and resources to the scaling up of production which should be avoided. – Rohan Bhatt

Expert advise from Jason Fonceca Poor self-knowledge. Unclear direction. A true business is a reflection of its founders. Apple’s a reflection of Steve Jobs, but is the ‘restaurant-destined-to-close-in-a-year’ really a good reflection of it’s owners? Did they have a clear vision & direction? Was it what they really loved and would do for free? – Jason Fonceca

Expert advise from Gregory Fisher Lack of focus on cash flow. All initial “productivity” needs to revolve around market validation and creating revenue. Product details, infrastructure, personnel…can all be improved as you grow, but if you don’t have sales then you aren’t getting the feedback and building the relationships necessary to get you over the hump. – Gregory Fisher

Expert advise from Cindy Turner Every entrepreneur has unique strengths and talent and when working out of ‘flow’ or against your natural abilities, you reduce your energy level, the value you bring to your business and providing a disservice to your customers. The key is to work ‘in-flow’ and delegate the rest to others for maximum performance in your business. – Cindy Turner

Expert advise from Trish Bertuzzi The biggest productivity mistake start ups make is to assume that because you build something the buyers will come. There are a glut of technology providers today selling toys instead of tools. Bright and shiny does not a revenue stream make.. remember that and do your research first! – Trish Bertuzzi

Expert advise from Di Holliday Biggest mistake is overspending. Start ups need to need to get an accurate picture of their cash flow. Cash is king and it only arrives when product/service have been purchased. Use savings or family to fund rather that banks; keep costs down until the business is under way. – Di Holliday

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