Hey! We're Sylvain and Patrick, cofounders of Vuzers.
This is the story of how our first startup failed, how we both lost all of our savings (about $25,000 for Sylvain and $30,000 for Patrick), our health, our family lives as Sylvain almost got divorced — all in the span of about 24 months — and what we learned from it.
Here's some background:
Okay, here are some of our biggest mistakes and what we learned from them:
As totally newbies in the startup world, we spent around three weeks choosing on a name/domain, filling intellectual properties papers, then getting a logo designed, forming an incorporated company when we just got our idea.
All of this was done before we had a clear idea of what we wanted to create or even before we were sure someone really wanted it.
Time and money were wasted here. In most circumstances, for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the name and logo will be irrelevant. You always can change it after.
But for sure, before you choose a business name, a domain, a logo, or legally open a business (all of the things that most people get caught up in), think about validating your idea with real customers first.
Too many entrepreneurs invent a problem to solve. But if you do, you will fail for sure.
Good products solve real problems that have an impact on real people.
Our first startup was all about "Augmented Reality".
Do you remember this trend? 😅
It was all over the Web: Apple, Snapchat, Google, Facebook. Everyone was talking about AR and VR. But 5 years later, no one talks about it anymore. Oh yes there is still Facebook and its Metaverse! 😁
So ask yourself: “What problem does my startup or idea solve, and how painful is that problem?” Think seriously about this question, because the answer may save you hours, days, weeks, months, or years of your life.
Not talking and listening to our customers early on was one of our biggest mistake.
We just kept building a product nobody wanted. And we fell into the "Just one more feature" trap.
In fact, when you're just starting out as an entrepreneur, a lot of your early success will hinge on your ability to listen and engage effectively with your customers. This will help you gather feedback and know your audience better in order to build a better product.
Lack of such feedback may leave your startup with a product that doesn't fit your customer needs.
So make sure you engage with your customers in a regular basis, analyze their feedback and suggestions and update your product to build a product they love.
Of course after 24 months, we ran out of cash and we had to discontinue our company.
It was really tough for both of us. We had put so much energy into this startup that we were exhausted. 😵
We were down:
As a result, Sylvain no longer wanted to hear about the world of startups for 2 years.
Failing a startup is like losing a loved one in a way. When you realize that your startup is gone and it's never coming back, you are in mourning.
The pain of losing a business is not just about a loss of income, but can affect your self-esteem as well.
But time heals pain. And after a while our entrepreneurial spirit and desire to undertake returned. Because at the end, being entrepreneurs is the only thing we love doing.
But this time, we'll do things differently!
The best way to stop mourning a failed business is to start another one!
We've been talking for almost 2 years with Patrick thinking of our next startup. Writing down all kind of ideas and then it became an evidence.
Why not scratching our own itch?
What if we built a tool that will allow entrepreneurs and companies to understand customer needs? Listen and talk to them? And build genuine relationships with them?
So we started to work hard, very hard. And few weeks later, Vuzers was born! 💪
Vuzers is a simple video engagement platform that allows you to directly interact with your audience, ask questions and receive responses.
With Vuzers, we want to focus on human connections and help entrepreneurs create strong relationships with their customers because this is one of the keys to success.
At Vuzers, we love “People”. And because entrepreneurs can have a big impact on people's lives, we fight for their success.
We're empowering entrepreneurs to build product people love with minimal effort.
Vuzers is the customer engagement platform that make entrepreneurship more accessible and easier. So try Vuzers for free and send us your feedback! 🙏
To be continued...