Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I’ve lost 3 businesses in 5 years

I have 6 and half years of entrepreneurship.

At the age of 20 while in university along with other colleagues I’ve started an NGO of students called DaAfaceri (YesBusiness). Its goal is to support young people to start their own businesses. It was not much, but we have contributed to some startups and other students that took contact with the NGO got better jobs that they would have got without the NGO.

I left this NGO after almost two years of being president so that other students will get the chance to take it further. In November this year the NGO will be 7 years old.

After I left DaAfaceri (the NGO) I’ve started a small business along with another member of this organization. We were at the age of 22 and we said: “After what we did with the NGO we can’t fail”. Well it took us 5 months to fail. We lost all of our money, we had no investors and our project was a disaster.

It took me 6 months to recover from that failure.

In the summer of 2005 we (the two associates in the company) finished the university and decided to separate.

In September 2005 I have decided to try again on my own. I had no money (in fact I had about 350 USD), but I said that if I do not try again, I’d be sorry.

So I din try again this time with a less ambitious project. And with a lot of hard work, a lot of enthusiasm and not that much business knowledge I was successful … at least for about 16 months.

The business made little money, the market was very small, I wanted it to grow, but soon I realized that there was no place to grow unless I made a large investment. I didn’t have the money to invest; there were no investors willing to invest (in fact in Romania there are very few investors that are venture capitalists and invest in startups).

So in march 2007 I said that my small, very small business is almost broke. So I decided to start a new business along with a friend, a business on training for companies – marketing and management trainings for companies. That business is called PICANT.

PICANT started in July 2007 and we were more successful than we expected. It is true that we didn’t expect too much. 2008 started a little slow and business wasn’t very good, but since May 2008 till December 2008 the business was booming. We worked 6 days a week at least 10 hours a day.

The money was ok, we’ve built a nice brand and 95% percent of our customers were very happy with our trainings.

Unfortunately in 2009 the Economic Crisis touched Romania and the companies cut off their training and marketing budgets. So we who sold marketing trainings lost another business.

The great thing is that we are only 27 years old. (My partner turned 27 last week. I still am 26 for the next 3 months).

So after almost seven years of entrepreneurship, at the age of 27, maybe it is time to do some business…

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