5 lessons from startup failures for today's new entrepreneurs

Now entrepreneurship has become the most fascinating word in this era. Many young people will start their lives and work around this word. However, Arthur Attwell, a failed entrepreneur, summarized five lessons and rules based on his own failure.


At the beginning of this year, my startup company completely closed down. I have been reflecting on which link has gone wrong. In fact, I am very grateful for all the experiences and lessons that entrepreneurship brought to me. After summing up this experience, I would like to say one thing to myself and young people who are starting businesses in the future: Don't position your company as a start-up company. Although this may seem like a linguistic definition, it is actually very important. Now I will talk about the reasons for this.

Entrepreneurs have gradually turned the meetings, websites, courses and competitions in startups into commodities. However, as the founder of an emerging industry, our energy will be distracted, and it is even difficult to tell whether we can really get real guidance from such a startup.

In order to attract the public's attention, we will spend a lot of time and energy to make a beautiful PPT, and then stand in the center of the stage to explain and analyze for users. Sometimes, in order to make profits, we even sell tickets for speeches and ask everyone to fill in admission applications. At that time, each of us worked very hard, but we didn't see any return. If time can come again, I really hope to start my career again.

Here are five lessons and new rules I have learned from this failed venture.

  1. Reduce participation in various activities held by entrepreneurs

This week I have been invited to participate in the activities held by five entrepreneurs, which is actually a strange and crazy phenomenon.

Entrepreneur activities are considered to be the "best social network", but too many of these activities will cost you a lot of time, and you'd better spend this time in the team at the beginning. At the same time, in these activities, people in these industries will not be your customers. You should participate in an activity related to your potential customer group.

However, keeping in touch with two or three entrepreneurs you are interested in, and occasionally doing some activities with them, can help you get rid of loneliness, and will also be of great help to your entrepreneurial networking.

  1. Stop competing with entrepreneurs

There are many kinds of competitions among entrepreneurs, such as innovation competition, bowling competition and business plan competition. Sometimes the prize is your company's investment (one investor is awarded the first prize, and two investors are awarded the second prize).

To be honest, do you want an investor to invest in your company at a cocktail party? For entrepreneurs, getting an investment is just like receiving a phone call from the bank to inform you that you have passed the review and can have an overdraft amount. It is a very lucky thing.

However, it also makes things awkward: I received a call from an international mainstream consulting company, and they told me that we had won a great innovation award. They told me very seriously that if I could tell everyone that we won this competition, they could pay me 7500 euros. Another time, I was invited to an interview on a radio program about supporting entrepreneurs. At that time, only one agreement was required to be signed, and they would claim to give us 188000 dollars on the radio. But I didn't promise.

You can actually use your time to win "business support", or help some MBA students to complete their projects, so that they can help you expand your career. I will use my personal time to participate in the competition with my newly established team, which is just to prove myself. To tell the truth, I really hope that time can go back and I will definitely make a different choice.

  1. Pay attention to media reports on entrepreneurship and have their own media channels

All kinds of reports on the start-up industry can attract everyone's attention. It is very beautiful. Especially in Africa, media reports on entrepreneurship are quite frequent, especially after you win a prize on entrepreneurship.

At Paperlight, we have kept a long string of posts and articles that are all good comments about the start-up industry, including "We Won the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award in London", "Frankfurt and New York", "Accenture Innovation Award", and "The Public Congratulates the National Assembly of South Africa". We have specially selected such articles as "from the perspective of entrepreneurs", which are included on the website of CNN, Forbes and other newspapers and magazines. We have even selected many articles on open business innovation and published them as books. To be sure, only various awards can produce relevant reports.

But there is no case. Let's see a corresponding wave of sales peak after media reports. In fact, for an emerging industry, to enter the normal operation track, sales is crucial. For a while, people believed that it was a good behavior to motivate employees, and it also encouraged investors' confidence. However, this behavior did not have much practical effect after the reward. So in startups, don't blindly follow and believe the so-called reports. You need to find the media channels in your industry.

  1. Don't tell your clients that you are an entrepreneur

Every office manager likes entrepreneurs very much, just like a pet. But no one is willing to be a customer of entrepreneurs. Especially for some large enterprises, they are more willing to cooperate with the same large and stable enterprises. They hope that the company they cooperate with will still exist in this market at least in the next few years, at least the name of the company is well known.

In Paperlight, we need book publishers to trust each other with their most valuable intellectual property rights, but if they give this to an "entrepreneur", anyone will feel too ridiculous. We can limit all our businesses to one field for more than ten years, and then when we extend our tentacles to other fields, many people are more willing to cooperate with us. Because our company has been in existence for a long time, it is not a start-up company.

  1. Go for real help

The emotional, intellectual, and financial support and needs of startups are very real. But it will distract you and make it difficult to concentrate. Therefore, you can find some entrepreneurs with rich experience similar to you in the industry as confidants or confidants. Usually, their emotional support will be better than a hundred so-called rewards.

Maybe for myself and other entrepreneurs, I can't always remember these rules and experience, but in the process of entrepreneurship, we should always remember that time will not wait for you, you are going to create a company rather than a start-up.

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