We all like success stories of other people – I’m no different. But I have also made something of what I’ve been never proud. Of a business that never worked out.
It’s too easy to build a business in your mind.
I think that it’s too easy to imagine that you are a businessman, and believe that your are the greatest CEO of the world. That it’s so easy to start a business, make a product and sell it. I thought this way also. And this was what actually killed my business and turned it into a business that never worked. How?
Story starts when I decided to open a speakers manufacturing company. Plan was awesome, vision also. But none of those speakers was sold. More than this – those speakers were never delivered to any shop. Why?
I thought that I can handle everything myself.
And it my was major fault. Over time I’ve learned that all those organizations and corporations exist not without purpose. That in order to do something really good without omitting five tons of things, you have to have people around. That by yourself you can sell vacuum cleaners from door to door, but not make a true business. It killed me on the beginning – I knew how to design furniture and objects – in this case big, standing speakers – and I know something about sound engineering – just enough to build a good speaker. What I didn’t know was:
- How to make a good advertisement,
- How to put your product into big stores,
- How to build it very cheap.
In fact, I knew only half of the things required to do it. I was in need of people to help me, but also desperately cutting costs. What happened was that I have been building a prototype for six months. It’s too much by five months. It was a trait of a business that never worked. There was way too much hope.
I didn’t have connections strong enough.
Business is about connections, right? I had them, of course. But all those people who I had connections with were from different branches. From branches which were not affiliated speakers and sound. I was in need of someone from a company like Walmart to put my products inside those stores. I didn’t know such people. I also was in need of a good and cheap lawyer, but I didn’t know him.
What happened was that I had a quite good prototype, but I couldn’t sell it to the big malls – no one knew me as a sound giant. Then, I realized that the European Union law requires every speaker to be tested in a laboratory before putting it into a shop. Costs of such tests to prototype were in ratio like 2:1. It was way too much for my student budget then.
Finally, the idea collapsed. It was a business that never worked.
Idea was great and product also. Now my friends are amazed by the design of what I have made. I also like it! But even with a good product I didn’t make it. Because product was unknown. Because I didn’t knew enough people to push it. Also because my faith in this was stronger than my real resources and possibilities. That’s the downside of reading too much self-help books.
However, I think that it’s very important to realize when you fail, instead of blaming everything around you. Even if it doesn’t seem this way at first sight.