“How does it feel when you look back?” the question spurted out quite naturally, as I sat down with my best friend, over a cup of coffee.
He smiled. And smiled.
And thus, he began.
“I was nearly there. Only, nearly.
I could have become the next Mark Zuckerburg or even the next Steve Jobs!
But, I didn’t. I failed. I failed terribly badly.
Three years back, when we (me and my business partner) decided it was time to let go of our seven month old start-up venture, I was probably the saddest person on earth, and for reasons good enough. A final year college student who dreamt of becoming a revolutionary entrepreneur had been stopped, frozen in his tracks even before things could shape.
My business partner and I were from completely different walks of life, and quite understandably the failed venture saw contrasting reactions from the partners!
I was a dreamer, aspiring to make it big. My partner on the other hand was the more practical, the more seasoned campaigner. While on the one hand, the start-up was my only way of escaping a “boring 9-5” corporate job and become “a classic example of a revolutionary entrepreneur”, it was just yet another investment for my partner, who was well-settled in life already.
Starting afresh was tough. But, life did not come with options, at least at that point of time! Though I did not have needy parents to be attended to, I was on an educational loan, and hence turning over a new leaf was the only viable way out.
Three years later, I’m a corporate professional, and I’m doing good. But to be honest, I don’t regret having failed in my entrepreneurial venture. While for most peers around, it was a disastrous failure, it was a great learning experience for me.
And here’s what I learnt –
It’s not about today. It’s about tomorrow and the day after:
Whoever spoke about living in the moment was definitely not talking business! You don’t start doing something just like that. Even if it is the simplest thing on earth, it needs a proper plan, an exact strategy. As amateurs in business, we lacked a clear plan, and that’s what eventually got the better of us. We were initially favoured by beginner’s luck, but that isn’t something that goes a long way. Anything you do, it should be the long-term effects that should be your primary concern. Ideas are born over coffee, not a business!
Be sure of your goals, and that of people around:
As a twenty-something over-enthusiastic guy, all I wanted was to start off a business, I could call my own. But, what I overlooked was the sharp disconnect in the entire thought-process of me and my partner. For me, it was my dream venture and I had lots of emotions involved. For my partner though, the venture was merely transactional. And this was just the two of us. We had no clue whatsoever about what the others were thinking or wanting out of this business. We had no “common goal”, and hence we achieved “nothing” out of it, in the long run!
You should always have a Plan B in place:
You might be the best at what you are doing, but you never know when people around you stop thinking the same way about you. You should always have a “go-to”, a Plan B, in case the undesired happens. Hiccups and failures are unseen. And that’s why precaution is better than a cure! Despite wanting to have my own business, I always had a Plan B, not because I knew the business venture would fail. But, I always had a question at the back of my mind: What if this doesn’t work out?
Embrace your failures and move on:
Failures are an integral part of your life. You can’t succeed all the time. Failures are the best teachers known to mankind. And, that’s exactly why you need to embrace it rather than brood over it. Accept it as a worthy experience and move on. That’s how you learn, you evolve. One failure does not define who you are. It’s better to fail than regret having not even tried, in the fear of a potential failure. Had I not moved on, I would have never known the me within. I’m glad I failed.”
Life’s short. Risk it. It’s worth it.