During Global Entrepreneurship Week, we talked to our CEO about the launch phase of a project. As we know, starting an entrepreneurial adventure for the first time can be quite scary.
Today, let’s focus on Julien Clouet’s experiences and setbacks, which have proved to be a real springboard for his career. Let’s start this second interview with a quick recap of entrepreneurship statistics.
Startups are surviving longer, but they are still prone to failure
Over the past few years, the life expectancy of young companies has increased, suggesting that a larger number of companies may be able to survive. However, according to Fundera and Forbes, 20% of small businesses close down within the first year, 30% after the second year, and roughly 50% do not pass the five-year mark.
The top 10 reasons why startups fail are: lack of money, poor product/service quality, wrong team, excessive competition, poor pricing strategy, underdeveloped business model, lack of a marketing strategy, indifference to users, poor market evaluation and bad timing.
Is it possible to avoid failure before it happens?
When starting a project, you have to set a goal and a date and most importantly, stick to them.
If you fail to respect this rule, you will always find excuses to keep a project going despite not meeting goals but the worst-case scenario is a company barely surviving. If it generates such a small amount of money, there must be a problem in the business model. Exhaustion and being consumed by entrepreneurship are risks that can lead to failure.
The denial of failure is real.
To avoid this kind of situation, I would say that it is necessary to have a team of 2 to 4 people, all from different backgrounds and with well-defined roles. However, this can sometimes be easier said than done when facing day-to-day challenges. Then, as I mentioned in previous interviews, you have to focus on one market. Many start-ups try to position themselves in several markets and target several types of clients. This increases the risk of failure. As a final tip, I would recommend that they build their projects together with the end-user, as we did with the Solocal group. We needed more than just a market study. We wanted to make sure that we were meeting a real need. We were audited by Solocal group’s purchasing teams, and thus received beneficial input.
Can you tell us about some of your failures and the lessons you have learned from them?
My first experience of failure was with my first project. I was living in Thailand where there are a lot of tailors. My idea was to create containing a measuring tape and fabric samples. The client then had to enter their measurements on the application or on the form enclosed in the box and provide details of the suit they wanted: Italian collar, etc. We called it “My Tailor Box”. Unfortunately, the quality of the work did not live up to our expectations, as the suits were not well tailored. We could not proceed. I kept postponing the objectives I had set for myself at the beginning until I decided it was time to stop! I had entrepreneurial desire, but I had to accept my failure and give up on this project.
“My catalyst: My children”
My years of entrepreneurship were marked by the birth of my children. It was a catalyst. I wanted my children to be proud of me. I wanted to give meaning to what I was doing and make a difference. I resigned from the large group I was working in and made the decision to start my own business when my first child was born. Having a child usually encourages people to seek stability and avoid such risks. Still, I did it and I do not regret it. People called me crazy at first because in general, when you have children, you become more responsible, but the birth of my children was a real spark for me…
Sparks are unique, just like the people who bring these ideas to the forefront.
The key is to regularly challenge yourself, to learn from past failures and to use them as success levers.
Thank you Julien for this interview! Next episode: Starting a business, meeting challenges and growth! If you would like to learn more about LittleBIG Connection or become a member of the LittleBIG Community, join us on the platform!
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