There’s something called “Survivor Bias”, a logical error when we only focus on the success stories, when we only concentrate on the few that become a success and overlook those who failed. With this, it means we only able to accept failure from those who finally made a breakthrough but have no interest in hearing failure stories from people who haven’t made the cut… yet!
Earlier this year I made a very difficult decision which left me in a position to admit Failure and defeat but before that let me go back and take a look at how I got here.
This is a blog post about how I Failed at creating what was supposed to be my origin story start-up, Flex Urban.
Back in 2014, I started having this feeling of doing something on my own, to start something and build it from the ground up, something would have a great and positive impact but I didn’t know what yet.
2015 came and while I was working as a Site Manager I decided to start a blog on pop culture and write about it. This helped me to not only get exposed to the hip hop scene locally but the fashion as well.
Then the following year in 2016 after I had quit my job and began blogging more, I started meeting some amazing local clothing brands doing great things but noticed just how they were struggling to reach customers outside the ones from their local area and even those who found them on social media, the sales process was a long and tedious process.
I then thought of ways to help and I came up with the idea of an online market. I believed that maybe this could be the thing that I can build from the ground up and grown into a billion Rand business but little did I know what I know now.
In the next couple of years, I went from someone who just using basic WordPress to blog to learning how to build an online market, making mobile applications and coding. It was fun at times but most difficult and I had also given up another business which was my food at the time, Bucketnerds, I had used this to get contract work but the deal-making, backstabbing and, payoffs that happened really ate away at my moral compass.
Now fast forward to 2019 and I had finally had all the pieces of the puzzle in place, the online market could finally go live, a free platform for small mostly black entrepreneurs to sell online to customers all across the country.
What I had experienced some years back though was still apparent in on the tail-end of 2019, that growing this thing would be an uphill battle, that signing up every new brand would be a long draining sales process. With a high customer acquisition cost and the cost to retain existing customers, I had to revaluate everything.
So I had to step back and really look at this thing from the outside, an uphill battle years in the making, it was a great idea that came from a special place but not unique enough or good enough for the sacrifice. And I guess I’ll never know how far it could’ve gone but it sure didn’t feel like something that was going to be worth over a billion in the next 5 or so years.
It started to feel like maybe it best we could be a niche market for small fashion brands or worse I had created a platform no one’s needs. I always said that a difficult business is one where you have to convince every customer why they need the service, not all are bad though because of people never know what they need until they have it.
So using the 80/20 principle I decide to shed some weight, do what any smart start-up CEO and make shrewd decisions and firstly I killed the online market for good, did away with the blog as well and kept only the earners, Flex Urban Web Services.
So now Flex Urban is a web hosting provider and we also do web design, android mobile applications and search engine optimization and more. My decision was validated when my next venture came to me but that’s a blog post for another day