Here’s Why I Failed with My First Ever Startup

Shafayat Hossain
3 min readFeb 2, 2020

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It all started in a gloomy afternoon before the election day of 2018. I was sitting outside a cafe with a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, and none of us had enough cash to get inside the restaurant.

But we slowly started talking, sharing ideas, making a road-map of how we can appear in BMW for our graduation ceremony and it seemed we hit the jackpot. What followed was the tale of 4 entrepreneurs who miserably failed at a business they were actually really good at.

No, we did not go bankrupt. In fact, we closed our business while profiting. We had to. We had too much on our plate already and we forgot to calculate our humane emotions. But the takeaway from the failure was huge, at least for me. And that is exactly what we are gonna talk about today.

A Plan For The Next 25 Years, But None for Tomorrow

It is easy to get lost in words and dreams as an entrepreneur. Because it is easy to hold meetings and late-night talks instead of actually DOING something. And that’s what we did.

We planned years ahead than we ever really should have, talked about improbable technical possibilities and went home with the satisfaction of being a visionary.

But, the following day, we were clueless about how to make the day count. And that’s where the problems began.

Too Hung Up on USP

Business books teach you a lot of fancy stuff. They also tell you to stand out. And you should, of course. But, as an entrepreneur, if you’re too hung up on becoming the disruption from day 1, you’re most likely going to have to exit the market at day 365. Why? The answer is rather simple, it just doesn’t work that way.

Let me put an example to it. Say, you want to build a bakery. Even if there are 5 other bakeries just aside, you’re still going to make business. You don’t need to be different to bring cash in. Why? Because of the overflowing economy. And that is where you as an entrepreneur should focus, the growing economy!

Needless to say, we didn’t. We spent hours, days and months wondering what our USP can be. Honestly, If we even made cold calls at that time, hours would be better spent.

Partners Think Differently

I can’t begin to emphasize how important it is that all the partners in the business work towards the same goal. If you are working with a partnered startup, as we see so much these days, we need to make sure you and your partners are trying to reach the same destination.

We cared about our business. But we had different priorities. We knew our responsibilities but weren’t sincere in accomplishing them the way we should have. In the end, we ended up wasting each other’s time.

And it was on all of us. We hampered the business, spent hours deciding something that should’ve been sorted months ago and in the end, it stopped making sense.

Of course, the failure is credited to a lot more reasons. But, at the end of the day, these are the learning that mattered to me. See, I always loved the idea of working with a start-up because it always tells you an amazing story. But, after Savvy, my first ever start-up, I realized, it is important that the story gets a happy ending too!

Are you struggling with your own start-up? I’m always up for a conversation. Find me at rdshafayat@gmail.com or leave a comment!

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Shafayat Hossain

Founded a few businesses, hired a few people, and learned a few things worth sharing.