Failed Startups

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by SteveFoerster, May 2, 2012.

  1. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I just wanted to say something about this -- if someone starts a business that ultimately fails, that's still a useful experience that will stay with them for a long time. I started a business that didn't exactly crash, but had a somewhat lucky landing, and what I took away from it was invaluable.


    P.S. Mods, I know this is from a closed thread, but it's something said that was tangential to why the thread was closed and from a whole page back from there, so I'm hoping it's not a big deal. If it is, my apologies, and axe this thread too, I guess.
  2. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    No worries. I love the point you made and am glad that you posted it. I never thought of it that way before :scratchchin:
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I once came VERY close to starting a company that manufactured high end, customized, personalized golf putters. We had the designs, we had the marketing but we couldn't nail down the metalworking. I know it's not exactly what you're referring to with your post but I think that in general it synchs with your point. Startups are very difficult to pull off.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It synchs up perfectly, Kizmet! At one point I looked at exporting coffee from Dominica -- it's high quality and they have a surplus -- but the world price crashed while plans were being drawn up. (I'm glad the market didn't wait a year!)
  5. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Very true. The data on this site Startup Failure Rates — The REAL Numbers indicates 25% fail within the first year growing to 71% failing within ten years
  6. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Hubby and I started a business that we sold 13 months later. It was an amazing education. No, we didn't make any money, but we were lucky to break even with the sale. (and I do mean lucky). Last year I sunk 110% of my brain space into PLANNING to start a business. It's ready to go. In a box. Here it sits unrealized. I can't go into all the reasons why, but despite not going forward, it's really kinda fun to do, and I'm sure I'll do it again.

    In a similar vein, have any of you watched Shark Tank? Business moguls who are wildly successful millionaires hear your business pitch and decide if they'd invest (how much/equity%). I've found it incredibly enlightening; it separates the personal investment from the math game. I actually enjoy hearing them predict a win/loss in under 2 minutes. As an avid googler, I love to follow up, and so far, I can't find a business that they turned down which went on to realize big success. Interesting show.
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I love Shark Tank; it's the only reality-style show that interests me. (Not counting Total Drama Island.) You'd think that after the first season no more entrepreneurs would come in unprepared to answer basic questions about their business, especially concerning the numbers. But no. :)
  8. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    Shark Tank is a great show for aspiring entrepreneurs. I also like the Canadian and UK versions (both called "Dragon's Den").
  9. carlosb

    carlosb New Member

    I totally agree. I had a startup as a sideline that I thought was a sure thing. I hate to travel for business, I didn't have a wife and children to be away from them often. I thought I could use technology to avoid the travel the startup would otherwise require. It didn't work out that way so I gave it up. It taught me a painful lesson on the need to do more research before starting a business.
  10. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    We love Shark Tank. I love the show.
  11. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I started with The Shark's Tank, then I began watching Dragon's Den on CBC so much that I eventually wore myself out of the whole concept.

    Before that, my favorite was American Inventor.
  12. taylor

    taylor New Member

    I like Shark Tank too. There are really some good ideas that come up in the show. But it puzzles me to see a person come up with a fantastic idea but for whatever reason wants to manufacture the product in the United States. I'm all for patriotism but the bottom line is if you mass produce the products in the US for 4 bucks but you can make it overseas for 1 dollar. Do you really want to go out of business in a year because you priced yourself out of the market because you were too stubborn to make it in China? You can still be an American company without producing the product here. Apple, anyone?
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    As the resident internationalist, one might expect me to agree. But I'm not sure that I do. For small scale entrepreneurs who don't have experience in the country where they'd like to offshore their manufacturing, they may find themselves swimming in a sea so filled with predators that it makes Shark Tank look like a minnow pond.
  14. taylor

    taylor New Member

    Steve, I don't disagree with you, there are some shady manufacturers in China and dealing with manufacturers in China is not as easy as buying something on EBay. But these people are coming to the Shark Tank wanting an investment from investors such as Mark Cuban and yet they are so adamant about making the product in the US that they ignore the advice of the Shark Tank panel to make the product overseas. Now Mark Cuban and the rest of his colleagues in Shark Tank has the expertise and the existing contacts to source the products overseas, so why not use them to jumpstart your business and get your product out there at a competitive price.
  15. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Steve: You are an esteemed senior member of this forum with over 5,000 posts.
  16. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    PS - Which thread did this one evolve out of?
  17. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    As an entrepreneur of over thirty years, I've been in two businesses: one that lasted one and one half years and the one that I'm currently in now for over twenty nine years. On four different occasions I've almost lost my shirt. The latest one was last year with problems from the recession, increased competition and legislators doing their darndest to put my industry out of business. There are times when I'd just like to sell out and start over. The only thing that keeps me going is that it is my baby and I can't imagine anyone else controlling it.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Oh, if someone has that sort of expertise on hand, then sure, that prevails over what I said.

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