Did I study from the previous?

Many entrepreneurs could have no possibility however to shut their companies. With the ravaging impact Covid-19 has had on the financial system, formal employment will not be an alternate for a lot of. Beginning once more is the one selection obtainable for these entrepreneurs. On this sequence of articles, the author attracts on his greater than 20 years of enterprise expertise and of supporting greater than 13,000 entrepreneurial companies to supply insights on how one can begin once more and obtain the best probability of success.


When working with entrepreneurs who’re beginning over once more, I ask them to attract a line down the centre of a clean piece of paper and write down all the teachings they learnt from their earlier companies that they may take with them into their new companies. In a single column, they write down all of the issues they need to repeat (the positives) and within the different they write down all of the issues they shouldn’t (the negatives).

What’s attention-grabbing to me is the way in which wherein entrepreneurs articulate their classes — whether or not constructive or detrimental. Usually, for my part, they’re not writing down the proper classes. I, due to this fact, use a four-step course of to tease these out.


I take the time to interrogate every lesson with the entrepreneur. Far too many attribute classes to an impact slightly than taking a look at the reason for that impact. A current instance is an entrepreneur who informed me that one in all his classes was to not give credit score to shoppers, however to supply solely cash-on-delivery phrases. 

When delving extra deeply into this lesson, I learnt that, in his earlier enterprise, the entrepreneur had a big proportion of shoppers who didn’t pay their payments which resulted in him spending fruitless hours chasing down debt, time that might have been higher spent on extra productive actions. Now I consider that is the fallacious lesson. The suitable lesson would have been understanding the reason for the dangerous debt within the first place.

On this case, the entrepreneur didn’t have a correct credit score course of in place which incorporates credit score vetting and the proper contracting clauses to guard the vendor. His lesson, due to this fact, ought to have been that, in his new enterprise, he would wish to create a complete credit-vetting course of, not that he mustn’t present credit score.


I’ve additionally observed that there are virtually at all times two to a few occasions extra detrimental classes than constructive ones in these lists, and it could take a further hour or extra of working with the entrepreneur to make sure that the constructive classes stability the detrimental ones. 

It is because I consider it’s essential that entrepreneurs going into new companies do not achieve this in a self-flagellating and fearful method with an virtually militantly inflexible mindset of what they won’t do. Such entrepreneurs are usually timid with regards to alternative and, in some cases, a bit of hypervigilant and paranoid. As an alternative, entrepreneurs ought to recognise the entire positives they achieved of their earlier companies and be hyper-aware that they don’t neglect to make use of these classes of their new companies. Beginning a brand new enterprise must be a constructive occasion stuffed with the arrogance of classes realized and expertise gained.


The third step within the course of is to transform classes into “handrails” or guides to assist guarantee a better chance of success within the new enterprise. Expertise and consciousness are one factor, however embedded insurance policies and processes are a very totally different degree of integrating classes into handrails that shield the corporate from making the identical errors as previously. The credit score course of talked about earlier is a superb instance. Designing, creating, embedding and managing a credit score course of is a handrail for the entrepreneur and others to make use of to make sure that credit score is given solely to those that meet the factors set out within the course of.


It’s also essential to have the ability to discern between the earlier and the present contexts. Usually, classes don’t switch neatly into a brand new context. That is notably true with regards to authorized and cultural frameworks. Let’s take the diamond trade for instance.

A diamond is given to a possible agent or purchaser with a handshake (what they name a “Mazal” within the trade). The handshake and the phrase “Mazal” imply contract has been entered into. In case you’re getting into the diamond trade and arrange a credit-vetting course of that features credit-bureau checks and the signing of wordy contracts, you’ll by no means make a sale. When beginning once more in a brand new trade, you should be very acutely aware of the variations in context and be clever about bringing throughout solely classes which are applicable.

The teachings you’ve realized are the sedimentary property out of your earlier experiences. They’ve likely price large quantities of cash, stress and knocks in confidence. They’re due to this fact costly and extremely worthwhile property and needs to be handled as such.

There’s a saying: “Idiot me as soon as, disgrace on you. Idiot me twice, disgrace on me.”

I feel the saying will be modified to:

“To make an avoidable mistake as soon as is the way in which of the world. To make the identical avoidable mistake twice is the way in which of the idiot.” DM/BM

Allon Raiz is the CEO of enterprise incubator Raizcorp.