Jul 15, 2023 2 min read

The Key Ingredient to Entrepreneurial Success - Lessons from Epic Fails and Unlikely Triumphs

Learn how seemingly bizarre concepts surpassed promising ideas in the world of entrepreneurship.
The Key Ingredient to Entrepreneurial Success - Lessons from Epic Fails and Unlikely Triumphs

Do you remember those teachers who constantly preached about the importance of doing your research? Well, turns out they were onto something! But unlike a pass/fail exam, there are greater consequences that come when you embark on a business venture and think "winging it" will be good enough.  

Anyone that knows Managing Partner at Branded Jimmy Frischling, knows that he loves to drop some nuggets of wisdom. So I present to you one of my personal favorites: "Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance." Why do I love this one? Because no matter how killer of an idea you have, or the passion or drive you possess, it's all mumbo jumbo if you don't have the foundation set up first.  

I stumbled upon a fantastic article on Entrepreneur by Niahl Advani which highlighted some common research mistakes made by budding entrepreneurs. It got me thinking about the relevance of research in today's ever-evolving economy. According to the article, entrepreneurs need to dive deep and gather insights before taking the plunge. Here's some key advice from the article and some real-world examples.

1. Know Your Market: The first lesson is to know your market like the back of your hand. Researching your target audience, industry trends, and competitors can help you make informed decisions. Remember, knowledge is power! If only Juicero had taken this advice to heart.

The Juicero Catastrophe: Juicero, a company that sold a juice press for the price of a small car, thought they had it all figured out. Little did they know that their target market was not willing to pay a premium for pre-packaged juice pouches. With a hefty price tag and a cumbersome machine, Juicero's product became the butt of jokes. Had they conducted thorough market research, they might have realized that their idea was as squashed as an overripe tomato.

2. Understand Your Customers: Secondly, it's crucial to understand your   customers' needs and desires. Engaging with potential buyers and conducting surveys can provide valuable insights. Trust me, you don't want to be caught selling an "innovative" product that nobody wants, just like Webvan.

The Webvan Wipeout: Webvan, a grocery delivery business in the dot-com era, had dreams as grand as their warehouses. They invested heavily in infrastructure, believing that customers would flock to their virtual shelves. Sadly, their target market wasn't quite ready to trust online grocery shopping at the time. With colossal losses and a failed IPO, Webvan's ambitious plans came crashing down. A bit of customer research could have saved them from being "bagged" in their own ambitions.

3. Learn from Others: Lastly, don't forget to learn from the experiences of others. Studying success stories and failures can give you valuable insights and prevent you from repeating history's mistakes. After all, you don't want to reinvent the wheel just to realize it's square, like some misguided entrepreneurs have done in the past.

The Hilarious and the Not-So-Glorious: From the infamous pet rock to the Snuggie (yes, that blanket with sleeves), there have been countless products that seemed absurd at first glance. However, they managed to tap into consumer desires and became surprising successes. On the flip side, there have been countless flops like the vibrating dumbbell and the gas-powered pogo stick. Researching what works and what doesn't can help you avoid inventing the next big flop.

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