Life of a Zero value business

I am going to take you to life a of a failed entrepreneur and his business. It may be hard to read if you had failed and set panic if you are in the line to become a failed entrepreneur. The objective of rest of the chapter is to digest the hard truth of life, work hard and wise so as to never get into this zone again.

If your business ticks all and gets 10 on 10, then we can count it as zero value business.

  1. You have a zero bank balance
  2. You can’t even “dutch” outing bills any longer
  3. Your co-founder has found a better partner
  4. You don’t get invites for birthday parties
  5. You just took money from your mom to meet your ends
  6. Friend who needs your help calls you to his doorstep
  7. Whatsapp messages is near zero, except group chats
  8. People return your calls late or never return, despite it went on the second call
  9. All in your family lost their ability to dream
  10. You just gave up on this business dream

Even one of these ten is not ticked you can save it from being a zero valaution business. But you have ticked all the ten on ten , you are right into the life of a zero value business!

Days of unhappiness

  1. Day before you accept it. When you realized that you got a zero value business, the best thing is to accept the defeat. You had realized that your business is worthless and it gets so deep that you feel that you are worthless. This happens as you will not be able to separate yourself from the business — It was you and all of you for past few years. Mostly, it was the only thing you would have know for the last few years. You are so low, beaten and burnt that you are ready to let go.
  2. The day you accept it. Even when the entire world is against you, shouts at you that “you have failed” despite any situations, any circumstance, or at any time, it cannot make you accept defeat unless you accept it. But, you know its no longer wise to continue on this business dream and you have just walked off from it. You will experience a mixed feeling of relief and sense of stillness — leaning more towards void.
  3. The next day with vitamin M. All the void in you can either become calm or panic depending on the access to Vitamin M — Money. If your next day you got money for a new venture or an idea, then you soon fall in love and at least it will be rosy for sometime that you will skip “regret for your mistakes” phase.
  4. The next day without vitamin M. This is the most horrible phase of a failed entrepreneur. Everything here is gloomy, negative and depressing. Here’s the phase where the strong ones are born and weak ones fade out. This is a phase of understanding that your business is worthless and you are not your business. Its when the strong ones find their way out to with that faith to come out of the mess and purse a next, full and fresh dream.

How to prepare for and deal with failure — suggestions from how I dealt with it

  1. See building a business as a ‘game’ A game that you are competing in — to win. If you don’t? It really isn’t the end of the world. On the difficult days, I always used to say to the team ‘it’s only shoes, it’s not life and death’. It helped us get through the rollercoaster entrepreneurial journey.
  2. View failure as a necessary part of growth You never really know if something is going to work until you try it; you have to fail fast and learn fast. Our institutional investors totally accepted that this is part of the ‘venture’ game, and always encouraged us to take those risks. I thank them for teaching me that.
  3. Grow a thick skin ..without becoming hardened to human connections. There will always be those who are very happy to criticise you and your decisions from the sidelines; not everyone will be understanding and supportive. I had a couple of unpleasant emails when we were closing the business; at the time they brought me to tears. But equally I had an overwhelming number of heartfelt phone calls and emails from others that more than balanced that out. Although it’s tough to feel like you’ve let people down, try not to take it personally.
  4. Give yourself time to grieve. It’s important to rest, reflect and gather your energy before you think about what might be next for you. I have been spending time with loved ones and evaluating what’s important to me. After so long putting everything into the business, it’s given me a new perspective on life that I genuinely appreciate.

Cheatsheet to reinvest yourself

  1. Let’s dream once more. Any business involves risk. There’s always a danger in trying something out that it won’t work. I don’t know anyone who has built a business that hasn’t gone through a lot of challenges and had to make changes accordingly. It would be boring if it was easy. But a business shut down can make you think of failure as a sign of personal incompetence and try to avoid it at all cost. But when you view building a business as a series of experiments, you start to see failure as an inevitable step in the process. All you need to do after a business shut-down is dream again. But to go behind the dream you will now need to make yourself resourceful.
  2. Become resourceful. Ensure you get a steady cashflow that you and your family does not suffer. This will be more a part-time employment or doing shift jobs. It will be hurting to be a employee once again, but it doesn’t matter. It gives you and your family steady income and hope to restart a new business.
  3. Go after your target client. A segment of the market always will be willing to invest in a product or service, so long as they perceive the value is aligned with their lifestyle choices. You can succeed by differentiating yourself from your competitors. You need to define your ideal client. Find out where they are, and integrate into their natural world. People do business with people they like, know and trust.
  4. Get rid of your instant-gratification attitude. I had to be patient as I re-established my credibility with the general public. Long-term success is a marathon. Understand that becoming top-of-mind for a particular product or service happens over time as you slowly build influence. This is key because most of your competitors will give up well before they’ve built up the relationship capital it requires to persuade a client.
  5. Never forget on where you come from. It’s so easy to sabotage yourself when you’re self-employed or rebuilding your life. You need to show up every day. Work as if you have a boss leaning over your shoulder and you must make every hour count. The disappointment of my previous failure was so strong, there were days I didn’t want to put in an appearance. I realized that if I really wanted a successful life, I had to take consistent action — especially on those days I didn’t want to do anything at all.

Success doesn’t take a straight line. There often are many twists, turns and bumps along the way. Life can change in an instant. What is most important is one day could totally change by the next. Look at each challenge in your business as an opportunity, and you’ll realize some of today’s biggest failures will provide the greatest foundation for future success then life of a zero value business will cease to exist in your life.

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