Failure is the beginning of new success

Darshi Withanage

Faculty: Lord Ashcroft International Business School
Department: Economics
Course: BSc (Hons) Business Economics
Category: Business

28 April 2015

Hello every one,

This is my very first blog. So, to begin with, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur never crossed my mind when I choose my university degree. I wanted to find a job in a big private company. But once I joined ARU I learnt that there are more things that an individual can do.

In my first year at ARU I found out about the competition run by CEDAR, named The Big Pitch. But I was too scared to participate because I had to prepare for a one-minute video and then upload it to YouTube. So I missed this wonderful opportunity for two years.

But that was the beginning of my journey. Now I will share with you the different ways that I learnt my lesson.

Lesson one: do the numbers and calculate the risk

My very first idea was to open a restaurant here in the heart of Cambridge. I was planning this awesome idea, and when I spoke to people who know about business they showed me that I need to think about  things like hygiene certificates, prime location, health and safety, etc. They told me it is a very unique idea but you cannot do the project without high start-up capital. So just because of that reason I’m not going to reveal my idea.

Lesson two: never start a start-up if you cannot spend time around the growing stage

This is next big idea: it is to operate a coffee shop in my country. This time I went one step ahead and ended up buying industrial equipment for the shop. I was not afraid as I had my shiny business plan and financial information. So I asked my family to find a shop space for me. I was even ready to hire the staff. But once I went back to my home country to open the shop and leave within two months, my family said it was very bad thing to do. My dad explained it to me why I should be there in the beginning. So no more coffee shop for me.

Lesson three: know your product by heart

So, in my head this was the one big idea that I thought I can do better, as my family are already running the business. I asked my family to send me some samples of gem stones. I started to look at the jewellery stores around Cambridge, and went to several shops and tried to sell the product. I had this amazing story of my family business. One day a shop owner asked me about a certain stone and I gave him an answer. But my answer was wrong. He then told me, ‘I believed your story but you gave me the wrong answer’. He told me if I want to do business I need to know the product. His exact words were, ‘That five seconds you gave me that wrong answer I lost my confidence in you’. After struggling for a few months I studied the stones further and then reached out to Hatton Garden. And I found out it is not easy to sell there.

So to sum it all up: just because you failed a few times and just because someone said you can’t do it, don’t give up. Instead, learn from your mistakes and try to do it better.

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