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Fastest way to fail in business: build crap for other people

The old “fail faster” mantra is played out – here’s how to actually succeed and avoid that failure from the outset.



Fail, fail, and fail again

There is a popular notion in the business world, particularly the tech startup sector, that you should fail faster. Failure is somehow glorified, and people miss the point of the mantra, which is to not drag out failure, and to not wallow in it.

Successful entrepreneurs speak on stage about their failures, honestly opening up about the dozens of failures under their belts, as a form of encouragement for those feeling down about their entrepreneurial struggles. I would propose that failure is much more complicated than just a stepping stone to success.

There is a much less frequently spoken about ingredient in success, and that is the method being used to get ahead. There are two types of entrepreneurs – the “imma make money” type, and the “imma help people” type.

Typically, the “imma make money” types sit down with a piece of paper and writes down ways that others have made money, and they consider ways that they can iterate or replicate that success. The “imma help people” types are frustrated by a need they or others have that is not being met, so they answer to that need vigorously.

Successes built on this theory

This very news site was launched many years ago because there was nothing that spoke to us personally, so we began writing on topics that we wanted to read about. And the truth is that like minds attract, so if there is a need you have, others likely have that need as well. That’s how we grew so explosively.

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A friend of mine needed a very specific type of sock for her boots, and couldn’t find them anywhere, so she got out her crochet hooks and hopped to it. She got so many compliments that people started asking if she could make a pair for them, and she eventually began selling them online with a fat profit.

Another friend years ago set out to figure out how to use social media, before it was even called social media, and became consumed with learning the best practices for her business. She was so good at doing it for herself, that everyone began asking her to help them, and eventually, she was so overwhelmed with advising others that she launched a consultancy which she still operates very successfully today.

The fastest way to fail

The fastest way to fail in business is to build crap for other people instead of for yourself, but it’s more than just holes in the market, it is the ability to market.

If you create something that you think some arbitrary demographic will want, you won’t have any passion behind the brand, and when you talk about your company or your brand, it will lack sincerity and you won’t convince anyone to fork over money – they’ll know they’re just that arbitrary demographic you wanted to make money off of.

So quit building products for other people, quit blogging to what you think others want, and just go focus on what YOU would want as a customer, because like minds attract, and it’s more effective to market to people that think like you.

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Quit failing faster, and just go frickin’ succeed because you’re in business to solve a problem. It’s not rocket science.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Hank Miller

    February 12, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Go left when the masses go right; go up when the masses go down…the will and the ability to express and maintain a position or operate in a mannor contrary to the masses is a good thing. Alternatives are not bad, alternatives are just another option. Remember, it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get up. Speak up, you’d be surprised how many will listen.

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