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Everyone Makes Mistakes.

What were yours, and if you could do it all again....

12:27 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...what would you do differently?

Starting out in a new business, everyone has their horror stories. Mine start with my first business partner who had a knack for pissing off the very people he needed to make "nice-nice" with in order for the business to succeed. Needless to say, he and I aren't in business together anymore. Wish I'd realize what an idiot he was before we incorporated! :(

So, what are your business start-up horror stories? What did you do wrong and what would you differently if you were starting a business today?

I'm just starting a new business (my third) and I'd like this one to do better than the previous ones. ;)

12:30 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Kind of the same situation Syren.

We partnered up with someone who ended up lying, cheating, changing the agreements midstream, etc. If we could do it all again we never would have partnered with him. We are still feeling the repurcussions of bad decisions made 4-5 years ago.

1:34 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Partners! Oh yeah. Same thing - good, fun people, and I enjoyed working with them... when they worked. I know the first partnership, each of us thought the other would bring in sales. We both tried, but each thought the other would be able to offer more. That partner finally moved on to another full-time job - thankfully, as I brought in *all* the work was ready to dissolve things in the end.

In the second, the partner was never available when we really needed it. Would show bursts of interest, and then the project would falter again and again and again. It's still in a kind of limbo. We are still feeling it financially - although its good in a way, we're way more honed and moving faster than ever before. Good can come of any bad situation.

I love working with different people. It's really hard for me *not* to be involved in 100 different projects - and maybe if I was financially independant, I'd do that. But no more partnerships for me, next time I'll just hire the person, or we won't move forward no matter how good the idea is.

I'm ridding myself of several "demons" in terms of mistakes I've made on some of the other threads. I'm just one of those people that look as a mistake for what it really is - a great opportunity to learn!

3:15 am on Jan 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The one partner was a great salesman, but didn't have the ability to back up on what he promised he could deliver. Unfortunately, that made both of look like idiots. He really had no head for business, but could talk a great tale.

The other didn't understand the importance of contracts and I won't even mention the whole tax thing. He seemed to think cheating the government was a good idea whenever possible! I'm glad the partnership ended before anything came up legally. I'd probably be in jail right now, and wouldn't be surprised if he isn't there cooling his heels right now.

Partnerships aside, there were other problems too. None of us were really good planners, and I think that if we'd thought things out before we got started, maybe even put things on paper, it would have made a big difference. Perhaps a partnership or two wouldn't have ever even happened. ;)

9:30 am on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I had my share of partner blues as well but got rid of partners well in time and managed to avoid bigger damage.
(2 different partners within a period of first one year and now without any for 2 years) so I will not have them if I were to do it again.

Second thing that I would avoid doing would be, to bite off more than I can comfortably chew. I took up a BIG web application development project at an early stage of my learning curve .. it was very tense period of my life... though the application got done quite well .. still.

10:03 am on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Specifying contract terms "too generalized" early on got me in hot water, on the first really profitable contract.

Approached by a small business with a potentially very hot product... very "new", excellent ROI (ours), minimum competition, large market and the business had very limited budget.

Charged the guy $100.00 upfront 50% net return per unit (about $80/sales would be my share. "Net" however was verbally agreed upon and not specified in contract.

About two months after site launch most engines crawled, went top page of a few dozen terms.

That month had over 5000 units sold (my merchant account) and at months end, the accountant cut a check, for which paid for the guys lawyer.

"Breach of contract", his lawyer citied the guys fixed costs included 5 years of research and development costs making "net" approximately $0.50 per unit of which 50% was mine.

Lawyers bills went to $10,000... and the guy obviously took his very successful product elsewhere (now that he could afford it).

The bright side... my lawyer successfully protected me from great losses since then, so the lesson was quite valuable being early in the game.

10:13 am on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My biggest mistake was being involved in projects which I liked, but had NO money making potential.

I was obviously blind to the fact that I was running a business, and not a hobby site.

I threw Good money after bad, until finally there was NO money left, and I realised what an Idiot I had been.



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