I already failed once. I had never learned as much as when I wanted, with a partner, to set up my first business. This article collects a bit of this story, written in November 2014.
I still remember the enthusiasm and desire with which we started the project; and I remember them because they have never gone away, ideas may come, transform and then go away, but the conviction of wanting to undertake is still intact, it is still latent, waiting to come true, waiting for my actions.
To get to my first business they had to spend many afternoons with my partner, coffees and conversations. We wanted to undertake, that was clear, but we did not know what.
First ideas to start a business:
We went through those moments in which one thinks about what one likes and is passionate about, looking for ideas, but absolutely nothing came to mind, there was a lack of creativity and any thought became viable, or at least interesting.
Among so many ideas, we came to the conclusion that we should create an online store, an e-commerce.
We had done our homework, we identified that this market was growing at 40% year after year, that there was no clear leader and that nobody, absolutely nobody was doing it right.
We were aware that we deserved better in the online world and we were willing to assume that responsibility.
A reality that hits:
What were we going to imagine that this was so difficult! Our humble desire to want to improve the experience when buying and selling online became an odyssey.
Every day there was a problem to solve, something new to learn and a decision to make.
The reality was that, when we decided to execute this idea, we never thought about what a payment gateway consisted of, how to negotiate with banks, having to look for suppliers, or how to contact carriers…
How deluded! We wanted to change, with motivation and desire, the whole concept of electronic commerce in this country and, incidentally, become rich.
Today I realize that the decision to undertake is not made when I decided to set up my first business; In my opinion, this decision is made after encountering the first difficulty, or perhaps failure.
In other words, the decision to create a company is made by many, while the decision to be entrepreneurs is made by few.
Making us crazy with what is truly important:
Already in the execution of the first business we spend weeks, if not months, thinking of a name and a logo. That was our way of procrastinating in the face of the real challenges that we had to take on, and that we never did.
We cling to the banal so as not to have to face the harsh reality that in this country (Colombia) logistics are complex, that all providers have the same thing to offer, and that in the end, we all work to be able to pay the commissions they charge. payment gateways.
The harsh reality was arriving. Months passed and we had no idea how this industry worked, and that happy story that we would be millionaires, in which we had ridden, little by little was coming to an end.
In short, we understood that a good idea was not enough, a sincere wish was not enough, and that more was definitely needed.
More than enthusiasm and a tolerance for failure were needed: we needed knowledge and experience. and we had it? Of course not.
Changing business idea:
Already aware that this was not the way to go, we sat down again looking for what to do, what business to set up… and we started to remember the past, since there could have been some good idea left pending.
It turns out that my partner had tried to enter the business of natural juices; I really liked the idea and letting it pass without having tried it was not an option for us.
We began to analyze the offer of juices in Medellin, Colombia and it turns out that natural juices, here, did not sell.
We were not taking advantage of our tropics full of exotic, unique and striking fruits; trying to find a guava, tree tomato or cape gooseberry juice was impossible: there it was! Now we would be rich.
An idea of electronic commerce made juice of guava speaks of the pivots and changes that an entrepreneur has to assume to reach success.
Result of our experiment?
Even if I don’t want to say this, I didn’t think that fruits were so capricious, I never imagined that a pineapple or an orange would be able to frustrate me so much.
My house witnessed the experiments we did with fruits, the blender passed into another life trying to find the exact formula. Add more mint, let’s remove mango, and if we put a little carrot…
And it happens that, while we spent our days doing something we didn’t know how to do (we were an administrator and a publicist stuck in a kitchen), the market kept changing, kept receiving new competitors and to make matters worse, prices began to drop…
Comparative advantages, the answer we were looking for:
Around that time I remembered that in an economics class in my university career they told us about the comparative and absolute advantages of countries.
The university has to be good for something, and that’s how it was: after giving in to the whim of fruit, we decided to go to the maquila.
We had made a great decision, we were going to stop peeling mangoes and apples and we were going to dedicate ourselves to doing what we knew how to do best: selling.
Through the turns that life takes, we come to Don Darioa greengrocer, producer of juices and pulps, who had made us fall in love with his guava juice…
It was on another level, exquisite, and in addition to this, its wide variety, more than 20 types of juices, made us make the decision to produce our first 250 units.
our brand, From the treeit was practically a fact, labels, containers, lids… We were ready to go.
One moment, and now where are we going to sell? Who are we going to offer them to? Or how are we going to do it?
We hadn’t thought about that either, to tell the truth we hadn’t thought about anything, we just did things without analyzing… we just wanted to succeed in life.
Big lessons I want to share with you:
Sadly, after receiving our first order, our love for guava juice faded with each new flavor we tried.
We didn’t know if the pear or the passion fruit was worse, let alone the tree tomato, that wasn’t even a tomato, much less a tree tomato.
What a disappointment! Our first production did not even manage to convince ourselves, its owners, those who supposedly blindly believe in their ideas, projects and products…
To blame don Darío for all the bad decisions we made would be to evade my responsibility.
Although there were quite a few (bad decisions), I learned a lot, I would say too much, what’s more, I can honestly say that no entrepreneurship course has taught me everything I learned from juices as bad as what we wanted to sell.
At the end of the day, that is what it is all about, seeing the mistakes and trying to understand why they were made, and if we are still on time, try to correct them.
Today there is nothing; We don’t have an online store or some juices being offered on the street. Today I only have two great lessons left, two great mistakes as an entrepreneur, my first two… I think it’s a good start.
What am I going to do wrong again? It’s the safest, I just hope it’s not with the same mistakes, since that would be worrying, for the rest, I realized that I like learning that way, I find meaning in it and I want to continue doing it. I want to continue undertaking doing, not talking.
Continue reading: 25 successful entrepreneurs who made history with their triumphs