Part VII. Busted. But What Are We Proud Of? Tons.

Here it is.  The series finale.  Our startup went bust, and we’ve really got no one to blame but ourselves.  After we figured out how to “Fail Gracefully” we were faced with beauty-strange-places-10the proposition of finding new employment, and that means updating your resume.  Normally, updating a resume can feel like vacuuming.  It’s a chore, but in the end you say to yourself “that looks nice”.

Before we got to the point of using power verbs and bullet points, we sat down and
chronicled what we felt were accomplishments.  This became a great exercise, and really helped us put failing and lack of execution in perspective.  Yes…we went bust, but some of our work was good.

The few things that jump out:

  • We asked for help.  A lot.  People helped.  That’s a testament to the Triangle Tobacco Alley’s startup community.
  • We asked a lot of people a lot of questions.  Voice of Customer research.  Skip this step in a startup and your risk of failure is Cheech & Chong high.
  • Talking to lots of people allowed us to form relationships with top-level industry groups, which then spun down into lower-level customer relationships. Awesome.  Sell high! [As in sell to the highest level, not sell while Cheech & Chong high].
  • We joined CED’s Venture Mentoring Service.  We worked with incredible mentors who served as our unofficial board.  They brought accountability, tough questions, and wisdom.  BONUS TIP – My current boss was one of our mentors.  Funny how that works out.

Financially a failed startup is an expensive education, but anyone who’s been through it will tell you it’s the best education they’ve ever had, and that they’re richer in many other ways. I wouldn’t trade my startup experience for anything.  I learned more about business and myself in those 14 months than I ever have.

Comments are closed.