Learning lessons from business failure
Three weeks ago I left a great job at UKFast which I’d had for three years to start working in a completely new industry.
Joining BusinessCloud was terrifying, and also one of the best moves I’ve ever made. Fresh starts usually include taking a risk, which is what makes them so worthwhile. The same thing is true in business.
In 2016 there were around 80 new companies launched in the UK every hour and that pace doesn’t look set to slow this year.
However, statistically at least, around half of all start-ups won’t see their fifth birthday and Brexit has clearly added to the uncertainty.
Earlier this month North West entrepreneur Jonny Cadden pulled the plug on his Business Rocks tech festival and liquidated his company.
To be honest, the odds seem stacked against start-ups but unless new disruptors are prepared to take a risk we won’t find the next Uber, Facebook or Deliveroo.
In many ways the word failure is wrong because you learn a lot more from failure than success. You can’t argue with famous American inventor Thomas A Edison, who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The reason I’m talking about start-ups is because I’m currently compiling the ‘150 UK Tech Start-Ups to Watch’ list and I’m still looking for nominations.
Deliveroo: It had to start somewhere
So, what is a start-up? It’s essentially a young, fast-growing company. Definitions vary, but they’re also usually innovative and probably dreamt up in a back-bedroom by an excitable entrepreneur.
They must be scalable, innovative and fast-growing – which helps them outrun some of the common pitfalls of a new company, like competitors.
There are many reasons why some succeed and others don’t. The ones that do well are often those that are trying to fix a problem by creating a business, rather than starting a business then finding the problem.
Investors I’ve spoken to have hammered home how important the team itself is, as well as the idea and the tech supporting it.
Three weeks ago I made a big career move and hopefully it will pay off, but even if it doesn’t I’ve learnt a lot from the experience.
So if you’re a tech start-up my message to you is nominate yourself to be included in our list. But, beyond nominating your company, the key is to never stop trying and believing in what you’re doing.