Failures and breakthroughs – exposed, reflected, considered

3 startups +1 and 3 lessons +1

with 4 comments

The Entrepreneur magazine has asked three successful entrepreneurs to describe a scenario of doing things all over again if they had a chance. Below is their response.

Entrepreneur

Sunny Bonnell, 33, co-founder of Motto Agency, a brand and design firm in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Founded in 2003, the company’s year-end sales are projected to reach about $1 million.

Lesson Learned

“As a woman business owner, I would have reached out to organizations like Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence a lot sooner than I did. They have helped me build our networks on a national level (i.e., establish partnerships with FedEx, OPEN from American Express and Dell) and given us access to mentorship, marketing opportunities and business resources.”

Entrepreneur

Anthony Mongeluzo, 28, founder of The Pro Computer Service LLC, an IT services company in Medford, N.J. He founded the company in 2002 and now has annual revenue in excess of $2 million.

Lesson Learned

“I would have treated my company like a real business and not looked upon it as a stepchild. I would have given it the same full effort every day and not wasted my energy from 9 to 5 with my employer grasping for a moment or two to sneak in a quick call to one of my clients.”

Entrepreneur

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, 40, founder of Putnam Community Investment Consulting Inc., a Cleveland-based philanthropy consulting firm for foundations and nonprofits. She founded the company in 1999 and projects 2009 revenue to approach $1 million.

Lesson Learned

“I should have conducted more regular financial analysis of the business early on to help me understand which types of services and clients were most profitable and to allow me to make more informed decisions as I grew.”

Personally, I am also still struggling with my own startup, Elegua, to have it gain sufficient traction, especially considering that I and my partner are on a bootstrapping mode till now. And we both fall into the “lesson learned” of the second entrepreneur,  Anthony Mongeluzo, above. My previous initiative, OpenCoffee Club Cairo, is also sort of put on hold, as the inaugural meetup didn’t attract a threshold number of local entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, VCs, techies and individuals interested. This reminds me as well to give it another push, as I also got a recent feedback to renew my effort. Hence:

Lesson Learned

Persevere, persevere, persevere. Perseverance, especially in cultures/societies with corresponding 0-market knowledge of or unadapted mentality to the ideas of the business initiative in question, it is vital to persevere and however steep a climb it might seem, there is always a societal learning curve, which, once the tipping point is achieved, will become self-sustainable.

Given its complete novelty and unawareness in the MENA region and in Egypt, I think I will give it another try.

What are your experiences and lessons learned?

P.S. I know it has been a long time since my last post. My own side projects and my work prevented my “blogging creative juices” from running. I will try to be more systematic henceforth.

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Written by Hayk

September 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I love sharing and learning from mistakes. People don’t embrace their mistakes enough but these are some great ones.

    I recently shared my first startup lessons leared at a startup talk in MKE.

    http://thedreaminaction.com/2009/09/16/my-talk-on-startup-failure/

    Found your blog through mybloglog after you came to mine today. I appreciate the visit and hope to see you back soon. Commenting!

    Cheers,
    Ryan

    Ryan Graves

    September 30, 2009 at 5:14 am

  2. Thanks a lot Ryan for warm words!

    Indeed, not many failed entrepreneurs (or in general, politicians, businesses, individuals, etc.) like to share and admit their own errors.

    Most of the times, admitting your own errors is already teaching a lesson no textbook or lecture can teach. It is a step forward towards your eventual goals and aspirations.

    I will keep an eye on your future posts!

    Cheers,
    Hayk

    fail92fail

    October 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

  3. Great post. Can’t wait to read a lot more about this topic.

    rockwell

    May 17, 2010 at 2:57 am

  4. […] might remember from my earlier post that I started the first coworking community space in Egypt and the MENA region (with exception of […]


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