My business failures include…
… the following list. I urge you to develop a similar list for yourself.
Since 1997 I have been trying, and regularly failing on occasion.
1. Just in Time Coaching, JIT Coach, JIT Peer. For individuals and organizations to quantify the ROI of coaching, and provide enterprise solutions. Tagline: “Now that you can hire a plumber or lawyer online, why not hire a coach or consultant just in time?” In 2009-2010. Worked with a brilliant software business partner, who developed the software and managed a team of offshore developers. We created a solution that assessed coaching needs, defined strengths, matched with a qualified coach, scheduled services, delivered in 4 modes (direct, phone, Skype, email), and evaluated services. Presented to three F500 companies. No sales. Now (in 2013) there are at least 2 companies that provide similar services. I learned the importance of defining market needs before investing years of energy into what I may think is “a great idea.”
2. Dash4Cache.org. A digital scavenger hunt app to promote any event or organization. In 2012-2013. After creating and delivering 3-5 adventure races and running races each year, for 6 years, I knew something about event management. Then in April 2012, my 16-year old daughter and I were watching a local mud run, the Spartan Race. She continually uploaded photos onto Facebook and Snapchat. And she said, “Daddy you could create a better event than this one.” So we formed a great team and delivered 4 events in the fall of 2012. We proved the concept and applied lean technology (build measure learn.) Armed with a provisional patent, we developed customized scoring software. These 4 events promoted local businesses and people travelled by foot, or car, or bicycle. In 2013 I tried to sell this concept to amusement parks, pub crawls, music festivals. But no sales. Yet.
3. 4A Coaching. A subscription based online library for best practices of coaching and consulting. In 2009 or so. With a brilliant software business partner, who created the framework. Populated with hundreds of best practices and ROI data. No subscribers. I learned that all the content in the world can be organized into a searchable format. However, people need to hire me/ coaches like me to help them through the messy process of learning. Communities drive sales, not just great content. Coaching can never be commoditized into a library. Thank God.
4. Action Learning Apps. May prove to be a market driven reality some day, but after 18 months of sales and development I could not find a buyer. One prospect meeting, with two senior partners in the largest law firm in the SE, was promising. They stated, “We need to cross-sell. This app and your business development sessions can force us to use our contact management systems and talk with our colleagues in the other silos, such as real estate, finance, or intellectual property. Then we can be compensated for cross selling.” Good concept, but not the economic buyers, therefore another failure.
5. And there are other smaller failures…
The main point: learning is a messy process, combined with failures.
I embraced the above examples because I wanted:
- to leverage digital knowledge
- to integrate the virtual and physical
- to expand value to thousands of people
- to partner with smart people
How about you?