3 (Common) Mistakes That Stomp Your Startup’s Growth

Sophia Sunwoo
3 min readAug 17, 2022


It’s a given that everything about building a startup is a risk. So when you’re in the thick of running your startup, your relationship with risk becomes about managing it to stay out of the red zone that’ll sink your business (not avoiding it altogether).​

With this lens, I want to talk about ways you can manage your risk so that when you’re investing in your business’ growth you’re not putting your money, time, and effort into places that will be a loss for you.​

Without realizing it, I’ve seen a lot of business owners make the mistake of investing in more risk because they’re so focused on keeping their business alive — the emotion of that overruns their ability to distinguish what’s a true growth opportunity.​

Here are how some of those common missteps manifest — ​

Investing more into what’s not working (aka runway)

This is the most common mistake I’ve seen startups chase when raising money or looking for additional funding, they raise money for runway so that they can add more time to their deteriorating house, rather than investing in the infrastructure to rebuild with new, better material.​

If you keep running into a financial shortfall, and injecting more money feels like you’re adding more time to a sinking ship — this isn’t an investment, it’s funding the elongation of your startup’s death.​

If you can count more places where your business isn’t working vs. is, and you’re looking for runway to give you more time to figure it out, your time is up. Hire someone who can audit your situation and figure it out faster than you.​

Don’t invest more money into what’s not working by funding more runway, start focusing on asset-building instead, which you can read about below.​

You’re doubling down on the wrong ecosystem

Before talking about asset-building, we need to look at your ecosystem first. What’s not working?​

If you don’t have a true understanding of the weeds overwhelming your land, all of your efforts to plant seeds will be wasted. This is an issue I see the majority of entrepreneurs make, they dive head first into growth and asset building without doing a proper audit of what they’re currently doing wrong and the correct solution to resolve it.​

If you truly want to put your money somewhere worthwhile, stop doubling down on the wrong ecosystem. Work with outside help to get your business audited with an honest eye.​

You’re not building an asset that you can commit to

Is the money that you’re investing focused on keeping your business’ heartbeat alive, or are you investing in building an asset that’ll pay dividends? Every entrepreneur wants to walk away with some kind of payout — whether it’s all in one shot, or slowly for an extended period of time.

If you’re truly committed to building your business, any additional money you inject into it should focus on building assets that you can execute.

This is where I see things go sideways. Plenty of business owners put their money in the right places to grow, but they don’t see their investment bear fruit because they peace out due to boredom, fatigue, their attention pulling them elsewhere — you name it.

Asset building only works when you pair it with persistence. Here are some examples of assets for your business that will pay out if you stick with it (this is not a comprehensive list) —

  • Improving your sales floor (whether it’s your website, marketing or sales assets).
  • Products and services that are optimizing what’s already working (not a new, unproven product/service).
  • Team members whose long-term help will help your business execute better and faster.
  • Machinery, real estate, and other assets that’ll help you deliver your products/service but can also make you additional income.

For more wisdom that turns your startup chase into a victory lap, get my Friday emails, (lovingly called The Crux) in your inbox.



Sophia Sunwoo

I create moneymaking brands with womxn entrepreneurs who refuse to settle for mediocre. www.ascent-strategy.com