Monday, May 23, 2011

Closing Shop

Life Strategy

2011.05.22_ClosedSignA couple of weeks ago, while having drinks with a new friend, he made me realize I’ve alluded to changes in my professional life without coming out and saying what they are on this blog.  He’d gleaned this off of my latest posts that’ve briefly referred to articles and books I’ve read.
So, I’m clearing any ambiguity: I closed shop on iEngineer, LLC. at the end of last year after 15 months of operations.  Though we landed and delivered on a number of projects with a handful of clients, we weren’t as successful as I would’ve liked.  Given my previous attempt at a startup that lead to my life savings loss, I’d learned when to pull out.  In the case of iEngineer, it was time.
I’d been lucky to have landed a full-time employment position at DocuSign before closing shop at iEngineer.  If you’ve followed my tweets or LinkedIn posts, then you would’ve guessed that too. 
What lesson came out of this endeavor?  Let me tell you:
  1. Fail Early and Often If you’ve read any of my posts on the subject of failure, you know how important I think failure is to insure eventual success.  Though this was my third attempt at a startup, none of which have grown to require OPM, with every attempt I’ve come closer to the final goal.  So, given we were generating revenue, the company came further along than any others I’ve started.  The next will go further yet. I have no doubt. 
  2. Ask for Help
    Do you know everything about business? Of course not.  However, when you’re starting your own business, you may think you can DO everything.  This is as ridiculous as claiming to be omniscient.   Though you’ll likely have to act as the salesman, marketer, delivery person, and accountant at the onset, there’s nothing that prevents you from asking for help from the experts.  By asking for help, I mean not ONLY seeking advice, but also hiring coaches, then later experts to fill in the void in your company.
  3. Forget Pride
    That’s right, forget pride! Pride would’ve prevented me from admitting it was time to close shop and I would’ve driven myself and my family to the ground, but it’s also pride that prevented me from initially writing this article.  Six months before closing shop, I was about to take out a costly business loan to stay afloat.  After thinking about what that meant given an ever-drying sales pipeline,  I realized my pride was pushing to get the loan, rather than business rationale.   It was time to forgo pride and do the right thing.
  4. Plan Your ENTRY Strategy You’ve heard about planning your exit business strategy.  A counter to that exists for every entrepreneur: with every exit, no matter the circumstances nor the outcome, you plan your entry back into another venture.  So it is in this case.  My wife, friend and I have developed a set of pet product packages we’re launching in June.  So, never stop planning your success.  Always remain focused on what you deem important.  After each change in your career or business, plan your next one so that you’ll eventually arrive at your inevitable success!
I’m breaking the rule of blogging by giving you an unexpected number of recommendations: four as opposed to five or ten. 
But not really, since that’s the final lesson: Break with tradition, how others tell you to run your career or business, and make your own way! 

What Do You think?

I’d love to get your thoughts on this post.  Have you suspected something like my friend did?  What gave it away?
Have you had similar lessons and more you’d like to share? Feel free to post them below.

Photo Credits

toolmantim