4 Lessons from a Business Failure

Have you ever had a business idea you didn’t follow through with?

I definitely have. I’ll tell you a little story… back in 2018 I was traveling in Colombia and saw these very interesting shoes.

The shoes were very colorful and incorporated artisan designs, so they helped local craftspeople get their designs out.

I thought wow. Something incredibly unique (the shoes) and something with a social impact (the designs).

Before I knew it I contacted a friend, we decided to bring them to US, and we went about our way.

At the time, I had incredible conviction about starting a business, but maybe for the wrong reasons.

I wanted to make a crap ton of money. So, I thought it be a good idea to start this.

Fast forward 5-6 months, I was offered a high paying job, I dropped the shoes, the went about my life leaving the “business” behind. And that was that.

In hindsight, what went wrong?

Well… here’s a list of several red flags that you can learn from.

  1. PRODUCT
  2. PASSION
  3. PARTNERSHIP
  4. SCALE

Here are some of the issues I experienced and how you can learn from them.

The product was crap. Yeah it looked cool. But the designs didn’t make up for the fact that the padding sucked, the rubber soles of the shoes eroded quickly, and in general not better than anything that was already out there.

The passion wasn’t there. I was passionate about becoming free and making money through a business, but I wasn’t particularly passionate about shoes. In fact, I thought the shoes were kind of ugly. They may be a fit for someone I thought, but I sure as hell wasn’t wearing them around. How could I build a company off that?

The Partnership was too convenient. The person I partnered with is still a good friend of mine, but the joint venture was more convenient than strategic. Our skill sets are very similar, so there isn’t a competitive advantage. If you look at very successsful partnerships usually each one compliments the other, yet they don’t overlap. Think Wozniak and Jobs. One was a nerdy engineer the other more sales and marketing.

Scale wasn’t there. Each and every shoe would have to be sold by me. Our existing distribution ideas were to open pop up shops at art festivals and craft shows and sell one by one. That could have worked well, and maybe ultimately we could have hired salespeople, but the product wasn’t good enough.

Hope you can learn from these lessons. Like the post if it helped. Comment below if you want to connect. Talk tomorrow!

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