Startup Failures Lead to New Opportunities

Failing at a startup is never fun. In fact, it’s often emotionally draining and frustrating. Fortunately, for many entrepreneurs I’ve talked to, myself included, failing at a startup always results in amazing learnings. When a startup fails there’s often so much more to learn because a number of tactics were tried and didn’t work. When a startup succeeds and does really well, it’s easy to believe that most of the decisions were right without necessarily learning many hard lessons.

After an entrepreneur fails, often some of the best opportunities emerge, including joining a new startup. Here are some observations about entrepreneurs that have decided to move on to the next venture:

  • After a failure, it’s easier to judge what type of team and market you want to be part of for the next venture
  • Failure creates more humility and hunger for the next go around
  • Often what not to do is easier to define than what to do
  • Failure tests whether you really like the startup world or would prefer a different type of environment

Startup failures are a healthy part of the ecosystem, especially when the entrepreneurs reflect on what worked, and didn’t work, and talent is recycled into the next wave of ventures.

What else? What are some other reasons startup failures lead to new opportunities?

2 thoughts on “Startup Failures Lead to New Opportunities

  1. What I have learned for the future is:

    1. To start marketing and sales campaign MUCH earlier than originally thought.

    2. Fight the desire to finish a product simply because “I’ve come this far and can’t stop now”. Be realistic and cut your losses. Find a new direction with better chances of success.

    3. Be positive after you shut things down. I gained a ton of experience along the way. I made some great business relationships. I tried my very best, and that has a lot of value.

    4. Never say you won’t try again. If you tried once then there must be an inherent desire to succeed at in small business.

  2. Always learn more failing than succeeding, certainly better to know what NOT TO do, especially since so many startups don’t have a clear template for “what TO do”

    There is an ethics component to the startup failure that I personally struggled with in my own experiences. How does one fail their first customers in the right way; those that took a risk on you before you were proven? I have seen two ways; one that is easy but in my opinion ethically reprehensible (pull the plug, send the out of business email and file for bankruptcy), and one that is harder, but provides a much softer landing for those impacted by your exit (agree as founders to exit the company, but commit to stay on until each client is put into the hands of another firm/contractor that you trust). This is not say the second route has no ethical implications, but I often hear about the “failing fast” or “embracing risk” mantras in the startup community and rarely about how to conduct an ethical startup.

    Given the consistency of your performances and a maintained goodwill in this community it would be great to hear about your struggles with this topic over the years and how you maintained the drive to win without crossing over that line and mistreating those first clients when things went south.

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