"Why has my startup not taken off yet?"

Many startups fail. Many entrepreneurs start with a lot of energy (and anxiety), build expectations around the business they are building, launch it, are for a while very happy with it, and after a period of gradual decay, after maybe 1 year there is nothing remaining from the initial plan and the members  have returned to "safe" jobs. But why? What was missing for that startup to become a success? 

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In order not to frustrate expectations: the aim of this post is not to present micro-economic data, statistics or research on why startups fail. The aim of this post is to show my opinion on the topic, based on what I see and read every day. 

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As many of you may have already read, failing is part of the innovation and self-discovery process, and it's something totally linked to entrepreneurship. Starting a new business is venturing into the unknown: you can do many previous researches and studies, but there are variables that will not be well measured in advance. Sometimes you will need to launch your startup first and then see what happens when it's running.

Maybe your calculations were sufficiently well-aimed, you have studied the market and the competitors, you had luck and the necessary preparation, you did all on the "right time" and "the right way" and your startup is suddenly a success.

Or maybe you realize that important variables were ignored in the business plan and things did not evolve as planned. It's normal: making mistakes is human. Making mistakes, in the context of entrepreneurship, is fully part of the learning process. 

The way you keep going after a mistake is the key and how you behave makes ALL the difference: you need to continue, understand it is a chapter, not as the end of your story as an entrepreneur. Everything depends on how you will assimilate this mistake and go on with your business, with your plans, with your dream. 

Many entrepreneurs are at this moment launching a business that will need some adjustments to be a success (success here has the meaning of being well received by the public and generating sustainable income). Others will launch something that needs to be completely redesigned to be a success. Others will launch something that the market is not yet "ready" to accept or use, and they will have to invest in marketing, partnerships, sponsoring, endorsement and will have to convince the public they are good enough. That means a lot of time and persistence. Everyday believing and acting. For each person and for each business there is a needed time for development/maturation. It's necessary to try, believe, strive, pivot, adapt, follow. You should not be discouraged by an error, failure, or a broken company. 

You tried that way, it did not work. There are others. If you truly believe in your business, you need to continue with it, ask new opinions, study more, seek further advice and seek new paths to follow. 

There is a path to success, a straight shot. But it's not always there, on the first attempt. Sometimes you will need to improve in order to reach it. Sometimes you will need to really conquer success, be ready to manage it and make it something sustainable. And that is actually good, that process will make you grow. 

Success (and here I am talking about entrepreneurial success) will come, but each entrepreneur has a journey, each one has a necessary way to go (a way that will enable each person to learn and grow).

Do not give up. If you truly believe in your business and work hard, it will someday happen, maybe not exactly as you imagined, but it will happen and you will be much stronger when it happens.

You may need to re-create it completely. You may need to study more and harder, listen to other opinions, change partners, change partnerships, teams, sources, resources. If you are really proactive and seek people to help you, if you do not let your pessimistic thoughts or people who do not believe in you convince you, certainly your journey will be successful. 

It may be that the final result has nothing to do with your original plan. It may be that you end up getting involved in an area that has nothing to do with what you initially envisioned. You may conclude that being an entrepreneur is not for you. But certainly this journey of mistakes, successes, attempts (and courage!) will be very positive and will bring you closer to who you really are. 

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See you soon!

Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate lawyer specialized in startups

entrepreneur