Why my first business failed
Today I’m going to tell you why my first business failed. We (me and my then partner) invested in it. We invested our time, our effort, [and] our sweat. And a lot of thinking was put into this business. But still, it failed before it even created $1 of revenue.
And in this video, there will be three main lessons [that] I learned from that business. And some of them actually took me years to learn, but still are something that if you will be able to avoid, it will save you so much trouble, so much effort, so much money, and so much heartbreak, so be sure to listen up.
A System for plants and Gardening
So the first business I ever started had a really cool product, at least, in my opinion. Well, in the country where I live, the weather is really hot most of the time [throughout] the year. And so air conditioners are constantly, constantly running, and gardens are constantly, constantly drying.
So what we thought would be a great idea is that we take the water that’s dripping out of the air conditioners, and create a system which waters the plants and make beautiful, beautiful, beautiful gardens with water that would otherwise go to waste – very eco-friendly, very nice solution.
We thought [that] we can sell it to restaurant owners and we would give them a sticker and a certificate says that they are recycling water. And therefore there are more eco-friendly restaurants, which might actually be a nice selling point for them and will create a nice feeling for the customers. So it’s a win-win situation.
Testing and Betterment of the System
We actually spent so much time and effort testing and bettering the product and the system. We had a problem with all the pressures inside of all the pipes and stuff like that. And we fixed everything with all sorts of complex or simple solutions. We even had an idea how to make this business model have a recurring business model, recurring revenue by simply buying fertilizers [and] putting fertilizers into the pipes in some nice way that enrich the water with minerals and will make the gardens flourish.
Not many people know that the water that is dripping from air conditioners is actually distilled. And so if you won’t put minerals into the water, they will kill your plant. So we actually have to reorder this fertilizer from us, which would be really, really nice. So we sat down, to create a website, to create a nice looking folder, we can go and give those restaurant owners and we were ready to get to business.
We had a group of two | Our first mistake
The first mistake we ever made in this business is that we had a focus group of two. We only thought about the ideas together. We did not talk to anyone. We did not talk to restaurant owners. We did not talk to anyone else about this project, so we can actually test. We did not do market research. We just make sure that this solution doesn’t really exist, which it didn’t. Maybe, now it does, but then it didn’t. And that’s about it. And so when we first came and approached people with that complete idea, we were already talking in a very complex language. Because we were thinking about it for so long.
Tip | Talk to your customers
So many things were completely obvious to us. [But] we weren’t connected to the customers. So the first tip I can give you right now that you can learn from my failure in my favorite business and, of course, businesses, later on, I actually learned from it and changed it, is to talk to customers as fast as you can. Make sure that you are not just thinking between yourselves [or] between you and your partners. Make sure that you know exactly what people want and how to talk to them and how to reach them about it.
Not sure about target audience | Our second mistake
And that’s also the second mistake we made. We decided upon a niche. We decided that a certain specific type of people will buy our product without knowing anything about this niche, without knowing any restaurant owners, without knowing what’s important to them, without knowing what makes those decisions for them, what are the key elements [or] what the most important things are for them. And so we had an incredibly difficult time actually reaching them and talking about what matters the most to them.
Tip | Know your target audience
So before you start with your product, think about the customer. Think about who is going to buy it from you [and] who are you going to propose it to? And start and try talking to those people as fast as you can. Also, try to go into niches you understand. You don’t have to understand it beforehand. But if you don’t, at least research it [and] research it really, really well so that you will come prepared for the meeting.
We quit | Our third mistake
And the third mistake is the one that I’m actually the most ashamed about. Because let’s face it. I was like 19 years old and I didn’t know anything about it. I hadn’t seen YouTube videos or anything about entrepreneurship. And I didn’t know [and] I didn’t think about the idea of contacting customers. Now for me, it’s obvious, but then I could never think about it. So I’m not really mad at myself. The third mistake I did was something that I actually don’t believe [that] I actually did. And that was that I quit way, way, way too early.
After two days, twice, we actually went out and went business to business, two different restaurant owners, and we approached maybe 10 restaurants or 20 restaurants. And that’s it. And they all said, “No” or they said, “Tomorrow” or they said, “The owner is not there.” And they left the phone and they didn’t call back. We quit. And that’s something I don’t believe I actually did it. But it’s the truth. And it’s also something that is worth mentioning. Because nowadays, I can totally see how this business could have succeeded and could have worked. But because I quitted way, way, way too early, I never had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of all my labor.
Basic Business Tactics
And this is something that’s so true for so many people who are working or are creating businesses. They are starting something. They are creating a product. They are creating a service. They’re marketing it. They are working on it. And just before there is time to enjoy the fruits of their labor, they’re quitting. And so many people are changing niches. They are changing what they’re doing way too often so that they never have the time to truly enjoy what they are actually making.
And around five years ago, when one of my businesses actually blew up and became incredibly more successful than anything else I’ve ever known before, I consulted with one of the people that actually like consulting with about business. He told me something that then pretty much annoyed me, but now I fully understand. And he told me,
“Go for it. Go for it. Press on it. Go, go, and go for three more years. And then you will be in an entirely new place.” And I thought to myself, “Well, that’s a really pessimistic point of view.”
I can have an amazing time right now. I have such an amazing business that works. Why should I wait for three years? What’s going to happen in three years? And only about two or three years later, I figured out that the business got to a position where it’s absolutely life-changing. It’s not just that I’m working crazy hours like before and making more money. But now this business has become so much more stable. There’s this management team, which I love every single one of them. Work became totally different. And this business now has a life of its own. And that’s life-changing. And it’s only because I didn’t quit. And it’s only because of those things: constantly talking with the customers, constantly understanding the product you’re going to sell, and mastering your niche.
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