Business Mistakes Learned the Hard Way: 5 Entrepreneurs Share their Story

Where are you in your entrepreneurial pursuits? Idea stage? Development stage? Growth Stage? Whatever stage that may be, there is excitement and uncertainty. Many of us know to seek out mentors, business coaches, and peers about their experiences and insights. For good reason too: learn from them. Listen to their advice. Take their words of wisdom and apply it to your own situation. Yet, regardless of where we are in the process, we will encounter obstacles and problems. We KNOW we will make mistakes; we KNOW there will be failure, but we fight to minimize the depth of failure. However, there are situations that pop up without warning or they creep up on us to create havoc. These 5 entrepreneurs share their story and lessons learned:

Jennifer Tamborski, Virtual Admin Experts: “Hiring people and being a leader is entirely different from the corporate world. I hired employees and set them loose, assuming they knew what I knew. When they came back to me confused and lost, I realized I didn’t have the processes necessary for my employees to effectively perform their job. It’s a process I had to learn as I taught them.”

Lesson learned: a clear, concise, communication and documentation plan must be established. Follow-up with employees is just as important as follow-up with clients.

Chris MacLellan, Whole Care Network: “My theological background inspired me to trust without hesitation. That approach to life did not transfer well to business. I didn’t discover this until I handed over the IP (intellectual property) to a business connection in which the gesture was not reciprocated. As a result, I lost lots of money and my humility. It took a great deal of time to restructure my business, much of which conflicted with my trusting nature.”

Lesson learned: Life skills do not always transfer well to business skills.

Mary Scott, Make Believe TV: “Create a clear, contractual arrangement for each project which includes payment agreements and pricing for situations that influence the service offered. All decisions must be clear and understood before the project (or any part of the business arrangement) begins. If it isn’t clear, it will cost a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Lesson learned: Do not rush into a project without the proper documentation.

Angie Monko, Harmony Harbor Coaching: “I jumped into business without a clear plan, quickly becoming distracted by multiple business objectives. I didn’t recognize the situation until ~18 months later when cash flow and momentum declined. It took another 18 months to create a business plan and to begin recovery.”

Lesson learned: Create a business plan, follow it, and revise as your business shifts and grows.

Paul Heirendt, True Bearing Advisors: During my corporate days, I had ‘two young guys’ working with me. They frequently joked, ‘You’re not the boss of me’, which resulted in them learning very little and becoming a liability rather than an asset. I eventually left the corporate world and took one of these young guys with me. As his urging, we moved into his uncle’s free office space in downtown St. Louis. The caveat: the uncle’s son must become the CEO of my company. With no written partnership and nearly 100% of the company in my name, I dealt with legal issues, lost opportunities, lost revenue, and lots of bad blood.”

Lesson learned: It’s better off not partnering unless each member can prove their value AND share the same business goals.

These entrepreneurs faced some crushing blows to their business growth but regrouped, adjusted and recovered. Communication and documentation were the top business issues. How can you apply their lessons? Share your ideas or stories below.

Kristen Edens

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Choose Your Friends

Have you ever depended upon a friend? If not, you can certainly trust Jesus.

Written by Hope on 24/03/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church And Community, Friends, Relationships
"He told them, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. " (John 15:12-15)

When I was in grade 4 of secondary school, I sprained my ankle. Being on crutches for 6 weeks made it hard to keep up with the other kids. But one friend stayed with me and made sure I didn't get left out. We came from different social and racial backgrounds, but that didn’t matter to either of us. She literally let me lean on her, and I was grateful for her kindness and strength.

Jesus Is Our Friend
Have you ever depended upon a friend like that? If not, you can certainly trust Jesus. He is not just our Lord; He is our Friend, too. He told His followers, "Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one’s friends" (John 15:12-15). My school friend displayed Christ-like love when she sacrificed her time for me.

Chosen Friend
My friend and I were different in many ways, but she still chose to help me. Likewise, God knew that we needed help, and He told His people: "But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob My chosen one, descended from Abraham My friend, I have called you… For I have chosen you" (Isaiah 41:8-9). God and humans are not even close to equal; but because of His friendship with Abraham's descendants, God fulfilled His plan to save humanity from sin.

Act on Your Friendship
We display our friendship with God and our faith in Him by obeying Him, doing what He asks of us: "[Abraham's] faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. …So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone" (James 2:22, 24) Also, being a Christ-like friend to others is a great way to show Jesus' love. Praying for your friends, as Jesus did, is a great way to care: "I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail" (Luke 22:32).

Prayer, Care and Share Jesus
The Power of a Friendship!

It's so exciting to know that the Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ, calls us His friends (if we follow His commands, John 15, v. 14)! And he wants us to love each other as He loved us.

Last week we started to identify lost people around us, who don't yet have a living relationship with Jesus. This week's step is to initiate a friendship with one of these people.

Do you care enough for a lost person you see regularly, to start being friends with them? You don't have to rush. Pray about this person you identify. If you are shy, ask the Lord or a friend for help in reaching out. Do something that fits your culture – it may just be inviting them for a cup of coffee.

You do not have to talk to them about Jesus right away. Just become friends and build the relationship. Ask them to tell their life stories, then really listen. Share your story when asked, without preaching. If they invite you to do something you don't feel is right, simply decline politely and without condemning. They will soon understand and accept you as you are – because you accept them as they are.

Whether this is easy or challenging for you, follow Jesus' example and be a friend to someone who needs Him!

Pray this week:

For someone who is brokenhearted and does not realize that Jesus is there for him or her.

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Dollar Shave Club Sells For $1 Billion, What a Remarkable Story

Dollar Shave Club (DSC), founded just 5 years ago, has been acquired for a reported $1 billion in cash by U.K. based Unilever. DSC was launched in March 2012 by Mark Levine and Michael Dubin and is based in Venice, California which is next to Santa Monica outside of Los Angeles. Michael Dubin will continue to serve as CEO of DSC. Unilver approached Dollar Shave Club about the acquisition, according to Dan Primack of Fortune.

Dollar Shave Club had a simple concept that resonated with men, "Shave Time, Shave Money", and launched with a YouTube video that immediately became a viral hit. As of today, it has been viewed nearly 23 million times.

 

If the price is accurate, it will be one of the largest in e-commerce history, with the most expensive acquisition being Zulily in 2015, purchased by Liberty, owner of QVC, for $2.4 billion. DSC had 15% of the men’s razor cartridge market share in the U.S. last year, according to investor David Pakman who is a Partner at Venrock, which was the original investor in Dollar Shave Club. DSC received $163.5 million in 5 Rounds from 21 investors prior to the acquisition.

Michael Dubin, founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club, added: “DSC couldn’t be happier to have the world’s most innovative and progressive consumer-product company in our corner. We have long admired Unilever’s purpose-driven business leadership and its category expertise is unmatched. We are excited to be part of the family.”

The company in less than 5 years has not only transformed the shaving category but has singlehandedly supercharged the consumer products subscription category. DSC has over 3.2 million members with revenue of $152 million in 2015 and on track to exceed $200 million in 2016. The Dollar Shave Club brand has also transformed from a single razor to a multi-products lifestyle brand that includes other branded products such as Wanderer, Big Cloud, Boogies and One Wipe Charlies.

“Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers,” said Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America. “In addition to its unique consumer and data insights, Dollar Shave Club is the category leader in its direct-to-consumer space. We plan to leverage the global strength of Unilever to support Dollar Shave Club in achieving its full potential in terms of offering and reach.”

Using Digital Disruption to Establish a Direct Customer Relationship

David Pakman posted this slide from the original Series A Dollar Shave Club Pitch Deck saying "His plan was grand, but his formula was simple…"

"I've been telling the Dollar Shave story lately as a way to describe the disruption possible when a company uses digital technology to establish a direct relationship with a customer," said Ted Schadler in his blog. Ted is Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. "Dollar Shave Club is in its customers' daily shower and conscientiousness. It's a digital disruptor, not because it has a revolutionary product, t's because it has a revolutionary relationship." He adds that digital disruption starts with a direct customer relationship.

"In the age of social media, brands must become direct-to-consumer in order to know their own customers," said Pakman in a blog post giving his insider take on the business. "Success has many fathers, but in this case, there is only one."

https://youtu.be/ZUG9qYTJMsI

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