From an outsider's perspective, especially as a customer or prospect, what's the biggest red flag that a startup is in trouble/about to fail?

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Global Head of AI, Data & Analytics in Software, 10,001+ employees
Lies or misinformation in their pitch deck
CTO in Software, 2 - 10 employees
High Turnover Rate
Lack of Product Updates
Poor Customer Service
Negative Online Reviews and Social Media Feedback
Lack of Communication
Delayed Payments
Inconsistent or Declining Sales
Frequent Pivots
CTO in Healthcare and Biotech, 11 - 50 employees
I’ve been un startups since 1998 and I can tell you from the customer side that not fully solving problems is the biggest factor for a startup to fail.

Also, from the Engineering side that it doesn’t have an elastic infrastructure to withhold all the transactions or their infrastructure costs are higher than they’re supposed to be.

From the product side, that changes to the product are often without letting them to be used properly by the user and evolve naturally.

Finally, from the founders side that their ego is higher than their startup.
Director of Data in Consumer Goods, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
In my opinion, is a consistent lack of responsiveness or poor communication. When a startup is unable to provide timely and effective customer support, it may indicate internal disorganization, understaffing, or a lack of focus on customer needs.
Executive Advisory in Manufacturing, 11 - 50 employees
Not meeting expectations, lack of communications and delays.
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Staffing turnover

Reduction in communication or updates

And the number 1 sign, requesting early payment and/or early payments with big discount. Shows cash management problems
CEO in Software, Self-employed
In the end one needs a saleable product, initially this usually is just the vision for the product. If there are no early adopters/early customers or those are backing out quickly, that is a red flag.

I was lucky to be part of a few successful startups and they all had in common:  a) The product would be something useful and ultimately became great b) The team was talented and had fun, was motivated c) The leadership was talented and had excellent contacts (to get early adopter buyers). d) Even the early adopter customers were happy and highly supportive, championing and advocating. 
Principle Consultant in IT Services, Self-employed
No or little sales. You have to sell something and generate some revenue to support what you are trying to accomplish.
Fractional CFO in Construction, 2 - 10 employees
From a customer's perspective: lack of responsiveness and poor customer service. 
Also, no interest in customer feedback to improve the product/service. 
Partner in Travel and Hospitality, Self-employed
Skipping the customer's interviews and not testing the product market fit. You are at risk of building something nobody wants. 

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