mile 3

I shut down my very first business during the 2008 financial crisis...

By Boris Glants, TurnKey Co-Founder and CTO

It was a run-of-the-mill consulting software company that did everything tangentially related to software development, such as:

  • Website design
  • CRM implementation
  • Custom web apps
  • Technical support
  • Outstaffing
  • And a million other things

By the end of 2007, I thought everything was going great. We had a dozen or so employees. Everyone was busy with more work than we could handle.

By the end of 2008, all our customers had canceled their contracts or didn’t have any more work for us. I mean every single customer. The downturn had gobbled them all up.

I did my first layoff, shut down the business, and hid under the bed covers. Since the business failed, I felt that I had failed. Since the business was worthless, I felt I was worthless. Since the business had died, I thought I had died.

I got to say, the bed covers were pretty helpful. I learned a lot while hiding there both about business and about myself.

Business Lesson 1: Focus relentlessly – in my next business I needed to be the best in a specific market segment for a well-defined target customer.

Business Lesson 2: Recurring revenue – project-based revenue sucks. You can’t count on it in tough times, and you start over from 0 every year.

Personal Lesson 1: most people never learn anything when things are going well. They learn a ton when things go wrong. If I could figure out how to learn things when they were going well, I’d be ahead of the game. I have to say I haven’t been able to do this as effectively as I’d like. I still learn best when I experience failure.

Personal Lesson 2: since I wanted to keep being an entrepreneur, I needed to get better at losing. If I was going to get majorly depressed after every setback, I should just stay under my blanket. I had to decouple my sense of self-worth from the success or failure of the business. This is by far the most powerful lesson I’ve learned.

I started my next business a few months later. And these hard-earned lessons above have been with me ever since.

#software #softwaredevelopment #business #success #work