Death of a startup: “When you run your project, any positive review for you is akin to a tasty steak”

According to the author of the material, about mistakes his made to reflect the performance of the entrepreneur and investor Paul Graham, who said that every startup is destined to make many mistakes. Ben Erez (author notes) notes that during the launch of its first project Shwrum he really made a lot of rash actions, but in the context of a specific situation, they never seemed to him so — only after the closure of the company he may not realize that these were actually the mistakes. However, even though the young entrepreneur didnt realize, he never repeated them twice. “In a sense, for me it is even useful to do all these things.”.

Erez collected 22 of the main mistakes he did by launching their first project — a mobile CRM for boutiques Shwrum. “Anyone can get a potential customer to say he is somewhat interested, only asking the right questions. Little interest we have interpreted as a desire to use our mobile phone system and all its functionality. Its like thinking that every girl in the class wants to take a walk — just because she said “Hello”,” says Erez.

In the first few months, writes Ben Erez, a startup founded with friends, drags the whole company with the head. “Who wouldnt want to create your daily schedule so as to constantly communicate with your closest friends?”. However, after a few months, when it turns out that the project has not reached substantial progress, to do business with friends becomes harder. All decisions of the head become susceptible to the emotional impact — even if he understands that it is necessary to take concrete action, he often does not want to upset friends. “To maintain cordial relations were very difficult,” says the young entrepreneur.

To attract the first funds from relatives, friends and acquaintances, the company came out very quickly, says Erez. The founders felt that, with the finished business plan and a working prototype close second investment round will be, if not easier, then at least as easy as the first one — if only because investors will be impressed on how quickly to move the project. As it turned out, the team overestimated their own capabilities. Potential investors in Florida were not interested in funding technology start-UPS, they were interested in the offline business, medicine, real estate, law, Finance or restaurants.

“I was able to explain to them what we do, but the idea of developing technology was so foreign to them that they were just a ways off to invest in”. This error can be reformulated as “assumed that any rich person is a potential investor.”. “When you are launching a startup, all that is somehow reminiscent of the positive feedback, looks for you like delicious steak,” noted Erez. Entrepreneur writes that he never liked to hear about how wonderful his ideas, as in the process of creating their project. Looking back, says startup teams, he realizes that the positive reviews are from relatives and friends has provided the company a rather negative influence — the founders felt that they are moving in the right direction, although it was not so.

“Or rather, we certainly moved in the right direction — but we were actually traveling at a speed of one mile per hour on the high road,” he said. Now, according to Erez, he realizes that much more important indicators for business is the successful launch of the product, availability of sales, and the efficient expenditure of funds. Failure to demonstrate a founder of a startup that can happen with any it project in the short term. Failures bring up the startup, help him embrace the challenges and not to make mistakes in the future. The fall of his first company Ben Erez now sees as a matter of honor.

During the first few weeks after launch Ben Erez, he said, felt that the company needs to slightly change the strategy — namely, in a different way to solve one of the problems pondered by the founders. After much debate, the friends came to the conclusion that they should stay the chosen course. According to the businessman, cost him more insistent to offer the solution, because in the end, four months of research and work in the direction proposed by the co-founders there to anything and never led. “Every successful entrepreneur that I know, and that is in a relationship that started this relationship long before the start of business or after the company stood up.

I believed that my personal life will not interfere with my working life, but I was wrong,” says the author of the material. “When you create a company that all aspects of your life, “mixed”, and one becomes inseparable from the other.”. Starting your own project, Erez, he said, thought maybe to ask for advice from anyone — very disappointed, if familiar bartender or chemistry teacher didnt understand why hes building this startup. “I was looking for approval wherever possible, and eventually fell into the trap. Ive been pulling away from everyone who didnt understand me.

Actually your energy is worth spending only a story to those who it could really be interesting.”. For the sake of launching a startup author left his work, which earned more than $100 thousand a year. As a result, after a year, he was completely depleted for the existence of. “This put me in a horrible position — I had to ask for help,” he says. I really do not like asking for money, and hope I never have to do it.

But its nice to know that when Elon Musk invested all their money in SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity, he also at one point ran out of funds. Says Erez, this error is similar to the first — any interest from investors the companys founder took over the willingness to invest in the project. “Just getting agreement on the terms of investment may confirm that the investors serious intent,” he says. This, the author notes, one of the most “illogical” of lessons he had taken. The Erez felt that people who became super successful and self-made, able to give good newbie advice on where to move on.

It turned out that the advice from different people (albeit successful) often do not carry any benefit, but also contradict each other. The best tips I gave those who could not be called successful. Young entrepreneurs launched his own company in Miami, but later it turned out that to hire good developers for a low fee in the region difficult. Then Ben Erez moved to another area of the country, hired some employees and together they began to work in the local incubator. The co remained in Florida, and in a month one of them left the company, and after a month went and the second.

When the team builds their own product, writes the author, a leader must be able at any moment to ask your employees the question, what they do and how it will affect the development of the project, and to answer. When the team is distributed, communication is more complicated, and this often leads to misunderstanding. “When you start your own company, you expect that everyone you hire employees will be so appreciate her mission, that the fate of the project will excite them as much as you,” says Erez. Now, the entrepreneur believes that this is quite normal — it protects people from severe disappointments. “I never thought about how wonderful it is that my entire team agreed to spend the time to try to bring my idea to life.”.

One of the statements Paul Graham, which made the author a strong impression — the statement that the entrepreneur is not necessary to have experience in the startup field, but it is critically important to have expertise in the field in which he intends to develop the project. Shwrum — service at the intersection of technological industry, Commerce and fashion. According to Ben Erez, none of the co-founders did not have sufficient competence in any of these areas, but they were all confident that we will be able to find out all the important information with the help of market research. “This is probably one of the main lessons that I have learned competence in a particular industry are a huge competitive advantage,” writes the author of the material. “I never liked fashion or Commerce, and within a few months after the launch my friends and realized that did not do what we like, and what you decided to do.

Very sad when this happens in business”. Silicon valley — the largest technology hub in the U.S., but this does not mean that you need to build your company here, says Erez. In some other cities also formed a strong startup sector — for example, in Chicago, boulder, Austin, new York or Boston. However, the launch of the project in Miami is an unwise move, because in this city, the author writes, it is almost impossible to find employees, investors, potential clients and mentors. As noted by Ben Erez, while working on his own startup he was alone, as ever.

At first he had a joy — every day he talked with friends and woke up with the idea that he has a clear goal. However, when the project had its first problem (and they all fall on the shoulders of Erez, by his own admission), he began to feel very lonely and regrets that he could not share it with loved ones. “If you are in a friendship or any other relationship with an entrepreneur — give him a chance to tell you what he feels. You will be amazed to see how much easier it has become and how much closer your relationship”. When the author met with friends and acquaintances at a dinner speech, he said, often came about how his startup.

In due time, and he began to identify himself with the company — that is, even on issues that concerned him personally, reply with the position of head of business. After the closing of Erez realized that the company is not his second “I”, and “what it works”. This understanding helped him to look at the work through different eyes and come to the conclusion that the failure of a startup is not his own failure. Initially, the leadership considered Shwrum hackathons as a way to find talented developers and thought to be present at such events is very important for the company.

“One of the problems we encountered at such events is very difficult to find “superstars” as they are called in Silicon valley. Hackathons should be considered in conjunction with other mechanisms. They are also good for finding co-founders. But I will try never to put their projects in a position where the talents have to look up hackathons”. As Erez noted, this is not a principle that can be applied to startups.

To succeed, its really important to have some connections, but not as important as in other areas. “Knowing Fred Wilson (venture investor — approx. Ed.) is one thing, but knowing Fred Wilson and to impress him with his knowledge in the field in which he is interested — is quite another,” says founder Shwrum. Ben Erez, by his own admission, ve often thought about the way his company and that she will be in three or five years.

“Its inevitable — weve all heard a lot of stories about how the creators for decades to develop their company, before come to success. But it distracts on whats important: whats going on,” explains the author. Working on Shwrum, Erez received a tip from a friend. Allow some aspect of business “go with the flow”, in other words, to work without his interference. The Council seemed good businessman, but, according to him, several times he applied it in the wrong context.

To let things take their course — this is just stupid. Startups dont work that way.


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