Updated: Feb 18
So, I want to reiterate that I don't personally consider my first business a "failure", but instead a stepping stone that provided me with unparalleled experience into my industry and provided me with the perfect platform to build and scale my second company (the one you're now reading this on).
I often heard seasoned entrepreneurs say that your first business often won't be your only one, and that it fails in most instances. I was adamant that I wasn't going to follow suit. I discovered that as an entrepreneur you have to be annoyingly (and I use this word lightly) arrogant. What I mean by that is you have to believe in the vision when no one else does.
You have to back yourself and work every day, even if you aren't necessarily seeing a return and that isn't easy. Me, being "arrogant" decided to disregard this and I was sure with absolute certainty that this business was going to scale and become the next big thing. So, what happened next?
Did we make sales? Absolutely!
Did we grow? Absolutely!
Did we continuously reinvest and look to improve our products for the end-consumer? Like you wouldn't believe!
But, despite all of this I still fell short. Lack of planning from the beginning and a concept that didn't really have a good and VIABLE USP meant that the business was clouded in a very competitive sector, with other brands pushing better, higher quality products that I simply didn't have the funding to match.
Now, where most might think- this is hard, or maybe this isn't for me I was the exact opposite; in fact, having created this brand I knew that running my own business was what I wanted to do- being an entrepreneur is perfect for me, but I just knew I hadn't hit the nail on the head and that next time around I would.
So, when I started researching my next business and I mean seriously researching (because this isn't the fun part, but it can't be overlooked) then I found where I had previously gone wrong. I learnt from my mistakes, built a business with a real USP and something that has appeal and it's exceeded all expectations in year one.
So, what did I learn from my first failed business:
Plan properly- it isn't pretty, or the fun part but it's important to know that the concept isn't based off of your own assumptions, but instead what your target market actually need,
Don't be arrogant- by all means believe in your concept and back yourself, but know when to listen to feedback as well. If multiple people are telling you that you need to change the concept then please listen,
Don't consider it a failure- that's the wrong mentality to have. Look at the positives and take away lessons from it which you can apply later down the line to avoid making the same mistakes,
Read books- you can often avoid making common mistakes within business by consuming content from other entrepreneurs who have made those mistakes!
Go again- don't give up just because one didn't go to plan. But also, don't feel the need to rush back in. My businesses overlapped because it was in the same industry, but that isn't the case for everyone; in which case you should take your time,
Lastly, seek help! If you're unsure, then please ask someone. Don't feel like you're being annoying. I've literally dropped hundreds of messages to people more experienced than myself asking to pick their brain for 15 minutes so that I can learn from them. If you don't get a response, you've lost nothing.
I hope this can help someone who's unsure about their business! I'm by no means an expert, but I can just pass on what I've learnt. Feel free to message if you're unsure on anything and would like someone to chat to!