Is your startup now a start over? There is nothing wrong in that, so long as you have given it your best shot and learned from it. Maybe things centered around an undefined strategy, an unclear mission, an unaligned team, a disconnection with customers, an ill-defined market or perhaps some other oversight or stroke of bad luck? In any event, an after action review and thoughtful questions from an executive coach may reveal where things went wrong. TechCXO executive coach Piers Mummery explains.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. That is the nature of entrepreneurialism. Sometimes successful entrepreneurs get lucky on the first attempt, but more often than not, a successful entrepreneur will have made many mistakes before reaching success. The trick is to learn from your mistakes. Do not be afraid of making mistakes, nor admitting them to those around you. It’s OK to fail… I promise; I know, and I have been there!
An investor in one of my businesses said once, that it is not a crime to lose money, but it is a crime to run out of money. Now I buy that sentiment to a point in the context of a one-dimensional business, but most businesses can adapt and change and flex according to their circumstances and there are times when you set out with the best of intentions, based on all of the foresight and research and knowledge you have but due to a fundamental issue (often unforeseen), you may be heading on a trajectory towards failure.
I have a personal example of this in a garden retail business that I created and eventually sold. 2 years before we sold the business, we embarked on a very expensive and what we thought at the time would be a killer e-commerce plan to extend our products to our existing customers online. We spent a small fortune on instore promotion and a fantastic e-commerce site, with all the bells and whistles, but when we launched, we found the level of sales after just 2 months, wouldn’t have even paid for a celebratory drink!!
The fundamental reason for our failure that we found out was our existing customers preferred to physically visit our stores for their shopping experience and that in trying to get them to go online as well, we risked cannibalising our existing customers experience in the store. We took a very brave decision to shut down the service after a few months, having spent over six figures on the experience and a great deal of time and internal resources. The result was that we needed to start again, which we did, but with an emphasis on driving local web visitors physically to our stores through local marketing….it worked, but it was an expensive, six figure mistake we made.
The important point here is that there are times, when you give your business the best shot possible, you throw everything that you have and know to try and be successful, but even having done your best, you may not succeed and the skill of great people is to recognise this and make conscious changes. It was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.
Be prepared that at some point your Start Up business may just become a Start Over business and there is nothing wrong in that, so long as you have given it your best shot and learned from it.
Think about what you have learned. Maybe things centered around an undefined strategy, an unclear mission, an unaligned team, a disconnection with customers or perhaps some other stroke of bad luck.