Why Our Startup Went Bust. Part I is Execution.

We quit our jobs and started full-time in September 2011.  We did everything right.  Except make enough money.  When that happens, there’s only one place to point the finger: yourselves.

FiringSquad

The first “Why” = Execution.  It almost sounds like a dirty word, conjuring up images of a firing squad.

We built the merchant relationships to power our mobile coupon book.  Close to 600 in three markets.  We built the customer relationships with schools and non-profits to sell it. Over 40 in 2012. We geared up for a big Fall fundraising season and got everybody everything they needed to sell.  We executed…but either not enough or not in the right spots.

Anyone can come up with an idea. The challenge is bringing that idea to life so that it’s sustainable, repeatable, and profitable.

Looking back we needed to triple the number of groups we worked with and make our sales process so incredibly smooth it would have been butter.  More on the former later. Tripling that number would have required us to reach more than 50% market share in our first year, which no company in our space has ever accomplished.  So for us to have survived we would have needed Herculean proportions of execution that only very few companies ever achieve.

My takeaway: If you don’t execute, you really do get executed.  Like it or not, you are both the firing squad and blindfolded schmuck.

Next up for why we went bust: Goal setting. Sounds backwards but it’ll make sense.  Overall, expect 7 total posts.  Five on the challenges we faced, one on what to do when you’re going bust, and one on a few things we did right.

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