Many successful people fail. It's how they handle failure and what they learn from it that sets them apart from the crowd. Here are 5 lessons I learnt from my first failed business. I hope you can learn from these as I have.
1. Believing that if you build it, they will come.
A working platform and a few social media ads should launch a business into huge success, right? It doesn't happen that way. You can't rely on having a good product, people need to know about your product or service and be shown why they need it. You will not succeed by focusing solely on your offering. People don't want to spend their time or money on you without being shown WHY they should part with their hard earned wealth. You must dedicate time and resources to SHOWING people how your product or service will improve their circumstances.
2. Allowing excitement and hope to drown out hard work and diligence.
This ties in with point 1. If you want your business to succeed you must be prepared to hustle and work your ass off. If you don't, someone else will and they will reap the rewards.
3. Not being "ready".
If you are not truly ready to give it your all, you're taking a huge risk with your time and resources. If you have read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, as many successful people have, you will have seen the words "when you are ready" throughout the book. Nothing could be more true. You must be ready to make your business your number one priority and give it your all.
4. Trying to do it cheap.
When bootstrapping a business there are many ways to cut costs however be mindful, the services you receive will likely be of a lower quality. Having a sub-standard product or service will lead to further work in the future. Determine (as best you can) the cost/benefit ratio of all your startup and ongoing requirements. Just because your neighbors son is in college studying to be an app developer and will charge you a quarter of the price does not mean this is a better option than going to a professional with 10 years experience. Use your judgement and decide which option is best. Often the cheapest option is not the best option.
5. Picking an industry I had no passion or interest in.
It might sound cliché but this is by far the most important lesson I learnt. You might think there are people out there who have built successful businesses doing things they don't care for. To this I would say those people are passionate about business in general. Building businesses is their passion. It doesn't matter if they are building a space travel business or making toilet cleaning products, their passion is watching the business grow. Did Elon Musk grow up passionate about online payment systems (PayPal)? Probably not. He's a serial entrepreneur who loves building businesses. If this is you, great! If not, pick an industry or idea that truly excites you. If you can spend 15 hours a day working on something and still enjoy it, guess what, you've found the holy grail! You will find a way to make it work.