Prior to joining ShareASale in 2010, I worked at a start-up called UWantSavings.com. It was an incredible learning experience, not to mention fun and challenging. Unfortunately, this little four person start-up only survived for about two years.
So as it is the month of #LessonsLearned, I have put together the top five lessons I learned from a failed start-up.
1. Timing IS Important.
There is a sweet spot with any start-up. You can be before your time, or way too late. Do your research. If the market is saturated, determine what will make you different. Or, if you are starting a in a new space, how can you reach the early adopters?
2. It’s Not About You.
Start-ups are hard. The budget is limited and the resources required are seemingly endless. Budgets should be put towards the happiness of your employees and the happiness of your customers. Start-ups need a dedicated team and loyal customers. So if you need go without a salary, or take a pay cut — you do it.
3. Lose the Ego.
You will make mistakes. Other people will have better ideas. Deal with it. Take feedback with open arms, ask for help and don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong.
4. Get Your Hands Dirty.
Not in a bad, corrupt way. I mean literally. You might have to step out of your comfort zone at some point to pack boxes in the warehouse, learn how to create a PPC campaign, restock shelves, order supplies, network with clients or mop the floors. Whatever it is, use it as a learning experience.
5. Low Cost or Customer Service.
It’s hard to be both. In the case of UWantSavings, we tried to wear both hats with a small team. We priced products to be the lowest on the internet, period. Yet, we also tried to handle returns, customer service calls and even shipping with the caliber of a Zappos. We couldn’t handle both. Be sure to analyze your strategy carefully.