How can a startup bounce back after a failed first launch?

13th Sep 2016
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“You learn a lot more from mistakes and failures than all your accomplishments,” said every experienced successful businessperson ever. You can learn a lot from other entrepreneurs who have failed in the past and found a way to bounce back, stronger than ever. Here are some tips to hit the ground running when you try your hand at your next venture:

Accept the situation

Losing a job is one thing, but when you nearly lose or fail at something that you have started and given your heart and soul to, it hurts just a little bit more. Do not be disheartened because you did not succeed at once. Instead, be motivated because you tried once before, and you will try again.

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Analyse it – collect feedback from customers

Do a post-mortem of what went wrong and make sure you address these issues head on when you get back on your feet. Needless to say, do not give any less importance to the things you got right as you have to ensure they continue to go right.

The best way to analyse what you did right and wrong is to ask the customers. This also lets you know where exactly you stand with your customers. Get their feedback based on what they liked and disliked about your products or services, where they feel you can improve and why they stopped (if they did) using your products or services. The easiest way to do this is to send 3-5-question surveys through emails and go through online feedback.

Network

When you have identified the resources that you have, you’ll need a good network to source what you don’t. Find people who will be interested in your business, either financially or intellectually, so they can boost the success of the venture. This requires a lot of time and patience because your startup is now at the lowest point. Take up some courses, meet new people, stand by your business and it will have a higher chance of succeeding.

Bring in new advisors

Consider calling in some new advisors and experts to help you with specific aspects of your business because they will bring you the fresh perspective that you need to bounce back. Find those who have had experience in your industry, or with a competitor, as it is important to understand how your competitor is faring too – which brings us to our next point.

Compare with competitors

Try to get a sense of how your competitors are doing. You can understand who their customers are when you take a thorough look at their websites and apps. Find reviews from press releases, social media and news articles. Identify exactly what your most successful competitors are doing better than you, and brainstorm how you can compete with them.

If your products or services are so innovative and unique that you don’t have competitors, it’s going to be much harder to create a whole new market from scratch. Since these are not familiar with the audience you’re aiming at, try slightly changing your output to suit already-existing ideas so customers will feel more comfortable with trying it.

Don’t let pride get in the way

In some cases, all the research and advice may lead you to alter your offering to the customers so much that it looks like an entirely new product. However, this ought to be a change you are willing to make. The Statistic Brain Research Institute has noted that 25 percent of startups fail in their first year, and the number doesn’t get much better as the years progress. This is one of the reasons that being married to your idea could be a cause of failure. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of sticking with their product out of pride and lose out on the opportunity of actually making their business successful. The best approach is to be flexible to change when change is needed, but to be stubborn when you know that what you’re offering is what the market needs.

Take in the opinion of some experts and consult others to find out where you can improve your business and take stock of the resources that you have. Your success won’t happen overnight, but keep in mind that your goal is more important than the money you make from it. As Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos said, “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”

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