Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:48

The benefits of failing fast

Failing fast in a web start-up is fine but what you do after determines if you're a true entrepreneur or not.

The number one reason a start-up fails is because they run out of money. But the second most common reason is that the founders simply give up on the business.

This might be because of the crushing ride uphill to find a sustainable business, because the founders didn't get along with one another like they first thought or for any other reason. 

At that early stage, it might be tempting to walk away and say with a badge of pride that you “failed fast”, but that's entirely missing the point. Failing fast is almost certainly assured in a start-up but if you don't get back up on your feet then the advice will be entirely misplaced.

There is nothing shameful about failing and finding out a prior assumption had no grounding in reality, but your job is to look for the crumbs of what did work from the wreckage and then re-think and re-position what your do in the future based on it. Call it a pivot, being agile, bouncing back or whatever you like, the main thing is you keep going.

As an investor through Startmate one of the primary things I look for in teams is the ability to be relentlessly determined to succeed. To brush off failure and charge forward with the lessons learnt. Failing fast is a likely first step but it's whether the team is willing to make the second step that determines whether they are entrepreneurs or not.

Niki Scevak is the founder of Homethinking, a real estate startup based in the US, and Startmate, a mentor-driven seed fund that invests in small startups at the earliest of stages. He is based in Sydney.

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