Start-ups need to stop searching for successful entrepreneurs but speak to failed ones…like me!


It’s pretty startling the disproportionate coverage that successful entrepreneurs receive because the advice they offer is very rarely helpful. It often consists of general business tips that lack the specificity which I know we so desperately needed when setting up Lashbrook Lassis.

At the same time most people, and even start-ups themselves, can rarely name more than half a dozen failed businesses. The lessons though that can be learnt from such people involved in failed businesses is indispensable. A friend once said to me, “most people learn from others, though the wisest learn from those who fall in front of them”. Admittedly, he told me this recently (2 years after walking away from Lashbrook Lassis) but it struck a chord nevertheless. What I would’ve done to have met someone who had had £30,000 and set up a chilled-drinks business – even if they had failed, their experiences and cautionary tales would have been hugely illuminating.

Within every democracy, it is generally accepted that decisions supported by most people are considered the best. At the moment, we are not listening to the experiences of most start-ups – the ones that fail. They are the ones which can offer the best insight for small businesses. I am not a fan of the latest trend within popular culture to disparage any “expert” and disregard their advice. However, there is a huge loss of advice when we do not consider the views of failed start-ups.

There is a reason why Google and Facebook spend eye watering amounts on harvesting the personal data of those using their services. They believe that such information helps them build more bespoke and quality services in the future. Currently though, we suffer the scourge of the general business tips from a few successful entrepreneurs – a situation which has left us with a dearth of understanding for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business.


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