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Seven lessons learned from a serial entrepreneur

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Pick your model

Over a quarter of failed startups don’t make it because they run out of cash. To be successful, every business idea needs to be paired with the right business model.

Every time I launched a business, there was the idea and the idea of a business model to go with it. The upside? I’ve never had to raise more than €300,000 for any given business, because my ventures as a serial entrepreneur generated cash quickly.

Online subscription, for example, is a great model. Half the things most people buy could be sold through subscription. Customers get a more personalised, more convenient service, and businesses get predictable cash flows. Everybody wins.

Find – and keep – the right people

Over a fifth of startup failures are blamed on having the wrong team. There is no possible success without happy, dedicated and creative talent. Finding the right people is one thing. Keeping them is another.

Vision attracts people, and good management retains them. I love generating ideas and launching companies, and I much prefer managing small teams than larger ones. So know what you’re good at, and where someone else can do better than you.

The right team also means the right business partners. Business is like marriage: you need the right partner to make it work. This means someone who complements you, and pulls in the same direction. It also means someone who challenges you, and to whom you’re willing to listen to.

I once teamed up with the wrong person. I was so driven by the business idea that I didn’t want to see that we were not well matched. We had to part ways.

So hire the talents you don’t have, find your match, and know when to listen.

Industrialise

With the right ideas, the right attitude, the right model and the right people, start-ups grow fast. Entrepreneurs who make it are those who can do what they do quicker, better, and for more people. This means shortening and automating systems and processes, not once, but over and over. This also means losing some customers, and that’s OK. There is little room for bespoke when you scale up, and there’s beauty in streamlining.

You share, you grow

As a serial entrepreneur, the way I see it, sharing is a winning attitude. Sharing knowledge, sharing data, sharing success. Not doing so means that you’re afraid that someone else could become better than you. Yet sharing is the way you improve and grow. You win because you offer the best product, the best service, or the best price – not because you don’t share.

Iron is built on this principle. Through the company’s various affiliates, we’re supporting entrepreneurs in the subscription business every step of the way, from seed capital and testing to systems, advertising and hands-on training. Because sharing never goes one way: it fosters partnerships, and partnerships provide solutions.

The ultimate measure of success is the impact we have on others. So what are you willing to share?

When starting out in business it can be difficult to hit the ground running, there’s no doubt about it. How do you turn an idea into a success? It may seem like everywhere you turn there’s another obstacle standing in your way. But don’t be defeated; most business leaders out there that have experienced failure on their way to success.

Julien Foussard is the founder of Iron Group

Image: Shutterstock

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