Webinale Startup Days: Making the best of your startup failure
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The Webinale 2014’s Startup Day launches with a few startup insights from Swiss entrepreneur and co-founder of Software Brauerei, Florian Müller.

Before Müller gets started with startup tips, he invites his audience to get interactive. But not in the usual „Raise your hand if you work for a startup“ audience participation. After being linked to a website via QR code or bit.ly, attendees can use their phones to make stars, smileys and broken eggs appear on the speaker’s presentation.

Later, Müller takes it to another level by asking the audience what they think of turning this audience participation, and the majority agree it’s not a bad idea for a startup.

Tips to work on your startup’s beer belly.

Florian Müller begins his talk with photos of overweight stomachs. Why? Because startups founders are contantly looking for ways stay lean and work off extra fat from their beer bellys. „But every belly is different“, says Müller. Like the workout tips given by men’s health magazines, tips for startups don’t apply universally.

Nevertheless, based on his experiences founding Jooik, an entertainment recommendation startup started in 2011, Müller has some essential „don’ts“ for startup founders.

Don’t spend ages discussing your startup’s name. There’s hardly a company in the world that hasn’t had some sort of trouble with its name. No matter who hates it or what kind of name is trendy at the moment, you’re better off picking one name and sticking to it, says Müller.

Don’t launch if you don’t have a destination. Founding a startup for the sake of founding a startup is a bad idea. You will only ever achieve something with your company if you have already defined to yourself and your team what you want to achieve.

Don’t waste time with another part-time, on-the-side startup project. Startups tend to take up every minute of spare time you have. Until some startup invents time travel, you won’t have enough energy or time to monitor two startup projects at the same time.

Don’t spam your users. But do stay in touch with them. Make sure to send them a brief bit of information from time to time to maintain your presence.

The successes of failure

With impressive honesty, Müller explains to his audience why his startup failed. The company’s USP just didn’t work and the startup’s concept of recommending ways to be entertained was difficult to monetise.

And although the startup was legally able to copy text and recommendations from other websites, the result was not fresh and appealing enough to gather returning visitors.

But what did they lose? A year’s time, 40,000 Swiss Francs and some personal pride?

In that same time, Müller says, you have built a great team of people, motivated them and given them a wide range of experiences. You also learned not just how to found a company, but also the vocabulary of startup economics, and where to look for the right funding. And finally, you’ve also succeeded in expanding your network, while proving your ability to take responsibility.

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