Many startups hit a plateau after a few early successes, writes Bob Sullivan. Your company might be in trouble if you are focused on short-term gains or refuse to listen to what the market is telling you, he writes. "Starting a company often involves ignoring doubters and pigheadedly taking a leap of faith," he writes. "But later, that kind of pigheadedness leads executives to ignore critical warnings signs, like unhappy customers or negative research."

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