For Startup Founders: Dealing with Failure

by | Sep 3, 2015

I have failed at many things. I’m deeply passionate and my beliefs are usually what drives what I do and as such it’s really painful when things go south.

I quit my job at Ruff’n’Tumble in April 2012 to start 1500naira.com. I loved the job and my boss really wanted me to stay but I was convinced about my next step. We launched in June 2012 and we gained traction really fast. We raised $7,000 about 6 months in. However, we hit a snag. Our margins were really low and we could only increase it at scale but we couldn’t raise more money as investors weren’t convinced about the company’s potential to become profitable.

Eventually, we had to sell the company to people with deeper pockets to give it any chance to thrive. My dreams of building Nigeria’s biggest low-priced goods online portal had vanished and I was also out of a job.

Grieve, but don’t milk it

It’s comforting to be able to unburden yourself to people in challenging times as it helps the healing process but you could get carried away. You may even start enjoying the attention and pity that you’ll forget to dust yourself up and get going again. I started working on Jay Osbie one month after I left 1500naira.com.

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Use the lessons, because success is a lousy teacher

We were attracted by the possibility of being able to sell products at a price point when we started 1500naira.com and nothing else mattered at the time. I soon learnt a lot about gross margins, net profits, cost of sales etc and this helped me get better prepared for my new venture.

Embrace failure, it’s better to face your fears

The knowledge that it could all go wrong at any point is always a humbling feeling and it helps you focus on what’s important. I know that the only mitigant against failure is growth, hence I’m always seeking to grow on a personal level and as I also figure out ways to grow my company.

Feel free to share how you have dealt with failure in the past, you’d be surprised at how empowering it is.

This post originally appeared on Juwon Osobu’s blog

Adejuwon Isola-Osobu
Adejuwon Isola-Osobu

Adejuwon Isola-Osobu is the CEO of Jay Osbie. Jay Osbie is an online brand and retailer for fashion-forward men, creating fashion and lifestyle merchandise for some of Africa’s top brands and celebrities.

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