All successful startups are great examples of learning from failures.

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Ask any investor who has engaged with 100s of companies, and they will tell you that the plans they begin with, are almost always never the exact plans that they eventually build their successful businesses on.

Failure is not a negative in the ‘Startup scenario.’ It merely means that some of the assumptions did not hold true in the marketplace, and hence we dumped it and we did something else. In that sense, the earlier conceived model failed, and we pivoted to a different concept;  product;  value proposition; customer segment; price-point; marketing plan;  business model; sales plan; team or whatever it is that failed.

I therefore advice entrepreneurs to not fall in love with ideas but to fall in love with a problem. When you look at ‘owning the problem’ to solve, you can think of many different ways of solving it and try what seems to be the most suitable way, given your circumstances and the market. Then it doesn’t matter if a few ideas don’t work and you eventually have to try a different approach to solve the problem. Since the goal was defined as ‘solving the problem’, it is still a victory even if a few initial ideas fail.

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What does being an already successful one-time entrepreneur do to your chances of being successful again?

Any entrepreneurial journey, even the most successful one, is not a straight line up. There are always ups and downs in that journey.

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The experience of having built a successful venture exposes you to many of the challenges that one can face in an entrepreneurial journey. It teaches you to keep your assumptions practical. It helps you understand what it takes to make a sale. It give you the wisdom to keep costs low. It teaches you that there will be ups and downs, and it teaches you to be resilient and teaches one that perseverance can pay.

Continue reading “What does being an already successful one-time entrepreneur do to your chances of being successful again?”

Does a winning business model guarantee success?

No one thing can guarantee success in a startup. For a startup to succeed, 20 things have to go well. For it to fail, one thing has to break.

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Of course you need a good business model. But that itself will be of no use if the product is not good. The product will not be bought if the communication is not right. The product will not reach the customer if the distribution is not right. And there are a number of such interdependent things that contribute to success.
By the way, there is not one ‘winning business model’. A business model is a strategic choice you make. And strategy is about choosing from the MANY options you have available to choose from, and then aligning the rest of the organization around that decision.