“Do you want to open a startup with me?” When my friend asked me about it two years ago, I was amazed so amazed that I didn’t feel my feet. I was enthralled. I quit my job and rushed to think about what I should call my business, I called potential contractors and I started searching for clients. I didn’t know that by the next year I would end up hating my partner and have $500K in debt, along with 10 disappointed clients.
Only after this arduous experience was over, did I realise that my partner was not guilty of everything and it was me who made a lot of terrible mistakes. You can close this page and step forth at your own risk (the same way as I did two years ago) but I would pay thousands of dollars to someone who could teach me these lessons two years ago.
7 lessons I’ve learned from a bankrupt business
Never underestimate the value of knowledge
When deciding to set up a business, neither my partner nor I had any business education or a business administration degree. We all had experience in customer relations from working at EduBirdie essay, but we knew nothing about the supply chain nor the structure of the company we were working for. We didn’t even know what the best business would be to start. Only now do I realize that we’ve made a lot of terrible mistakes which could have been prevented by having the appropriate management background (and following pieces of advice given by older entrepreneurs).
Never get disappointed if something goes wrong
When agreeing with my friend’s suggestion, I was tired of my office job. I wanted to travel more because then I could take a one-day trip inside the US. But when I started doing all kinds of administrative work, I ended up having no time for myself, even on weekends. I’d been working twice as much more than during my customer relations job, and I had no time even to go to the hairdresser. The resulting disappointment made me furious which has spoiled my relationships with my partner and most of my clients.
Think twice before partnering with your friend
Choosing a friend is not the same as choosing a business partner. If you can freely talk to someone, it doesn’t mean that you will build your business with the same ease. Most experienced people advise building a business with a person who is entirely different from you. This way you will not only optimize your labour costs but defend your opinions against entirely different ones (which will lead to true solutions to problems).
Never treat your mistakes as failures
Never making mistakes is the destiny of the laziest. When you set up a startup, you will definitely make a lot of mistakes beginning from choosing production materials and ending with working with the wrong contractors. You are human, and you cannot predict everything so enjoy the process and treat mistakes as your teachers.
Don’t do the job you are not qualified to do
The most painful moment was when I tried to calculate my business tax liabilities. I didn’t study even the basics of accounting or invoicing. So having no money to hire an accountant or any outside help, although I had succeeded in calculating everything, that day I firmly said: “Never-ever again!”.
Don’t stop believing in yourself and your idea
Bad times and failures always happen, but they should not make you go back or accept a defeat. Believe in yourself, in your small business idea, and think about people whom your service might help. However, if the goals you pursue focus on making a lot of money, don’t cry when your enthusiasm expires with your first challenge.
Don’t try to be someone else
In our rapidly changing world, it is really difficult to remain who you are. But the problem is that people don’t love copies; they want to see you, an original you. The same thing goes for your business: if you copy everything from your competitors, you will never outperform them with their experience. Know and develop your strengths and know why you are better, instead of just admitting your disadvantages and failures.
The final words
I hope I am not the first one telling you about all these principles garnered from my own business experience. If I am really the first one, most likely you’ve never had any communication with people who have already started businesses. You’ve never listened to them sharing their experiences on developing and moving forward with their simple business ideas. Remember that experience is worth much more than your labour and equity resources. Gain it in conferences, read entrepreneurial blogs and articles on Forbes or Huffington Post but never rely only on your knowledge and experience (if you don’t want to fail like me).