Many entrepreneurs venture into business industry thinking they can thrive with a simple formula – create a product, sell it and earn money. This typical mindset is the reason why majority local startups fail these days. But failure is not the end of the world, it can be a huge lesson for you to pick up yourself and bounce back.
Here are 6 painful lessons you can learn from local entrepreneurs Shafiu Hussain, Lead Product Designer of Mindvalley, Elisha Tan, Founder of TechLadies and Dr. Paul Jambunathan, Senior Lecturer who opens his own clinics on how they made their comeback after their startups tanked.
1) Media attention is not always great
Media exposure may be a great platform for your business but having media attention is not always great. You may feel great hearing or reading good comments about your product or services, but at some point, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Indeed, an entrepreneur has to stay optimistic but you have to look at the hard facts in your face too. If traction isn’t there, it’s time for you to end it.
2) Don’t let your startup define your self-worth and self-confidence
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to let their startup define their self-worth and confidence as it becomes their image. So, once the business had to close down, they don’t feel like the business failed, but they themselves failed. Not having enough money or being mentally exhausted are the common reasons for entrepreneurs to take a step back and quit. If it happens, don’t ever put yourself as a failure.
3) ‘Fake it till you make it’ mentality won’t help you
Not many really talk about how to handle the breakdowns. Usual advice that entrepreneurs get is how to get investors, where to start how to pitch an idea etc. Indeed, there will be some ups and down and most entrepreneurs make things up and lie to themselves or we call it as a ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality when it comes to breakdowns. No one teaches you how to deal with the mental breakdowns. Some people think that if you raise money, it’ll be better but actually, it’s not. Seek advice or get support from your family if you are dealing with mental breakdowns. You don’t have to face it alone.
4) Draw a line between your personal life and business
A common mistake that entrepreneurs did is to put their identity into a business. They tend to use their names to attract customers. Once you use your name without knowing whether the business is going to be successful or not, you will be ready to shut it down when it’s needed without trying your best. You’ve got to be able to disconnect yourself from what you’re attempting to do when it’s viable.
5) Don’t quit your day job to start a startup
Quitting day job in order to focus on the business is a common story that we always hear. Let’s be brutally honest, it’s one of the most stupid things founders can do. The sentiment of leaving everything and taking that leap of faith is completely ridiculous. Instead, it is recommended for entrepreneurs to start a side project and test the waters first. Even if you see a little bit of traction, don’t give in and take time to figure it all out first. It’s dangerous to not have a backup plan to fall on to.
6) You decide when to quit or stay
As an entrepreneur, you should know whether it is time to end a failing business or not. Ask yourself, would you pivot or persevere? It’s all up to you to decide and the decision can only be made by the founder, not anyone else. But, there’s a guideline that can help you see things clearer. First, ask yourself if you have the ideas to help you not feel stuck with your business. Second, ask yourself if you have the resources to handle these ideas. If the answer to both is “No”, then it’s time to pack up.