Failing To Launch

I arrived at college (Washington University in St. Louis) on August 19th, 2016. By August 22nd, I had thought of my great idea. The best thing since sliced bread.

I wanted to build a coffee shop on campus. The idea stemmed from my “startup” pre-orientation (what even is that) and our team consisted of myself and two others. We observed a problem in the ecosystem of the school — a lack of quality coffee.

So we set out on a mission: provide students with a better cup of coffee. But along the way, things got complicated.

So we started building our vision by doing research. Finding current “competitors” and building a cost model. And then, after a week or so…We built a slide deck ?

We designed our “model shop” for campus, thought of unique “competitive advantages” we could develop and got creative. We wanted to make this coffee café the center of entrepreneurial conversation on campus — burst the bubble for students and bring in the St. Louis business community. It would be a collaborative space to work and share ideas. And we did all of that really well.

Have you noticed the fundamental error yet?

We never spoke to people. And that was our downfall.

We assumed that everything we had built would work; BEFORE even speaking with customers/administration.

And we learned quickly one thing:

  1. There is a monopoly on the coffee on campus — we would not be allowed to start it.

We went about things in the wrong order, it’s a mistake that I thought had made at my first and second venture opportunities.

So before you start your next big venture, use me as an example:

  • Never make business decisions off of assumptions, because they are generally wrong (at least mine).

more on twitter @itsjordangonen

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