Important lessons from failures

Fear of failure is cited as the biggest reason people don’t start businesses, however as our mentors show failure is an incredibly valuable opportunity to learn and grow.

We asked the Tech Ready mentors and ambassadors their biggest learning’s from failures.

Christina Chun

Founder, CEO, 1Scope

Not sure whether I’d call it a failure, but a definite learning experience – things usually don’t go to plan, especially when negotiating an investment. The first time I negotiated for our investment, I assumed it would take approx. 3-months (it took 7-9). I underestimated the difficulty in completing the due diligence and the ‘resources’ / ‘man power’ required to assist me in doing so (financial forecasts, legal). This led me to run, I ran out of money (paying the team) and had to source new funds while the negotiation dragged on. I underestimated how long it would take for people to review/edit and get back and how many times this would happen, I had to learn about power imbalances within a negotiation while it was happening, and so much more. Greatest learning experience – understand the process in detail, surround yourself with relevant parties that can assist, overestimate the negotiation process (typically takes 6-12 months). Set strict action items and timelines for both sides before exiting a meeting to minimize drag. Ensure you, have extra money in your budget in case you need it, negotiate with several investors if possible for power, learning and diversification purposes.

Lynda Coker:

Director, Create Cultivate

Losing a large client with no cost of sale due to firm policy not allowing exclusivity on a one-off transaction where they were ultimately successful.  Consider each situation on its own individual merit and decide accordingly.  It’s also ok to fail and often the best opportunities / learnings come from failures.

Ben Reid

Founder TEMPL TV

Biggest failure and learning (#flearning) was taking my tech startup to China for 18 months then having it spectacularly combust when my Chinese partner got done for money laundering! I learnt more though in that 18 months than probably my previous 18 years in business.

James Cameron

Partner, Airtree Ventures

I moved to China for 2 years to try and learn Mandarin mandarin.  It was f*&king hard and I failed miserably.  But I did learn that you can have an incredible time while you are failing – as long as you see it as an adventure and an opportunity for self improvement.  

Lambros Photios

Founder, Station 5

The first 12 months of the business involved a huge degree of pivoting. We offered digital marketing services alongside development, which was not my expertise. I learned from this the benefit of offering a niche service, becoming a specialist, and being known for this offering.

Chris Illuk

Manager, Open Agent

My biggest learning experience has been ditching a bias for putting your head down and building stuff (that probably no one actually wants) in favour of trying to focus on building viable solutions to problems that customers actually have.

Albert Mai:

Growth Hacker, Glam Corner

For the first two startups that I was involved in, I was not data-driven and didn’t have a disciplined approach to ideas validation and marketing. A lot of campaigns, tests and hypotheses were not tracked properly or not even tracked at all. They were all based on guess work and instinct. As a result, a lot of these campaigns failed to achieve their objectives.

Since then I have got myself into the habit of tracking every metric possible in order to inform the direction of campaigns, support the hypotheses and drive the marketing roadmap as well as to measure the outcome of the campaign and impact of strategy on the startup. The first thing I do in the morning is not to check and reply to emails but to go through KPI dashboards to identify any movement, patterns and trends of our core metrics. Before launching any new campaigns or targeting any new channels, I always make sure we are able to track key metrics and set measurable KPIs and targets.