We are all inspired by success stories but often the real learning is from how you bounce back from failures.
It is only through learning from our failure that we can learn and achieve success. We often hear the saying how it is important to “fail fast”. The reason for this is that a business failure can actually provide the foundations of a viable business concept that has the ability to succeed. Take the example of Groupon. When the founders started their business start-up it was actually a social media site called the Point that was created as a means of connecting people together for social activism.
After many cash investments in a concept that was going absolutely nowhere, the founders were forced to take a step back, take stock, switch gears and create a highly successful and extremely profitable discount coupon service that we now know as Groupon. Without that failure these founders would have never been able to realize this success.
“The success of a start-up business is only based 5% on the idea and 95% on the execution”
– Tim Miller, Dawson’s Den contest organizer and panel moderator at Dawson College’s EWeek.
Dawson EWeek workshops highlighting female entrepreneurs, tech start-ups, and arts and culture-based businesses, shared tactics and lessons learned, often from failure, to help young entrepreneurs’ in the execution of their businesses.
Common themes at EWeek focussed on the importance of respecting the environment and sustainability, experimenting, evaluating and changing your approach to your start-up when needed and most importantly, about treating your body well by exercising and eating healthy. Today, a start-ups’ quality of life is as important as revenue earned.
Fighting the Imposter Syndrome
Entrepreneurship tends to come with a large amount of self-doubt, always some next obstacle to overcome and fear that you will be found out as a fake.
In 2015, Sami Grosse was dreaming of her business idea when she attended Dawson EWeek and participated in the Speed-Date an Entrepreneur activity to get advice from entrepreneurs and mentors including members of CEDEC Small Business Support and CEDEC Youth Start-Up.
Afraid that she wasn’t competent enough and just a wanna-be entrepreneur, she took a friend with her to participate in the speed date an entrepreneur – an activity where young people with a business idea could meet and discuss that idea with a seasoned entrepreneur or a business expert in order to gain feedback and advice. A myriad of questions raced through her head; Should she be sitting and talking about her business idea with someone? Was it a good enough idea? All questions of self-doubt creeping into her mind as she was about to embark on her entrepreneurial journey.
Fast forward to 2018, Sami once again found herself at the Speed-Date an Entrepreneur. This time she was on the other side of the table and was struck with Imposter Syndrome again.
Why would anyone want to talk to her? Was she qualified enough to speak to an aspiring start-up? While she isn’t making a ton of money yet and is still working at her day job, she realizes she has to put herself out there, recognize her fear, to talk about it and face it head on in order to calm that fear and build her confidence.
Social entrepreneurship and sustainability
From one sponsor’s Flow water recyclable and compostable containers, to the zero waste catering table, to the young entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in this world, there is one common goal. It is not to earn a 6-figure income but rather to earn enough to live on all while giving something back to society at the same time.
Of the 10 finalists in Dawson’s Den pitch competition, eight included a goal towards sustainability. The winning team, Arkangel, produced software to identify early symptoms of diseases like diabetes and identify proactive ways to reverse their onset.
Never stop learning
One cannot help but be inspired and energized at Dawson College’s EWeek, whether you are a student, a start-up entrepreneur, a mentor, an advisor or seasoned business owner.
To quote EWeek presenter, Nikita Mukhanov, founder of The Malahai luxury fur accessories, “never stop learning”. Learning is a lifelong pursuit and business owners must consider themselves to be students and continually build their skills and knowledge base to be equipped to execute their business idea effectively.