The Entrepreneurial Journey: Learning Along the Way
Luke is a bright and passionate entrepreneur who founded VCEpro, a startup that helps dealerships perform remote service like oil changes and tire rotations in customers’ driveways. From his experiences as a dealership technician, he realized that service departments often had periods of downtime and that dealerships could gain more market share from their competition if they brought their service departments to the customer. He thoughtfully designed a solution to this widespread problem.
The product would be ready to sell in a few months, so he was starting to think about different potential customers and pricing models. He had two options for pricing models: 1) charging dealership customers for a premium, at-home vehicle maintenance or 2) charging dealerships in exchange for a more productive workforce.
We decided the best option was to test these two strategies against each other. At first, Luke suggested that he test these two ideas upon the release of his product. However, I could see a problem with this: it would waste time. By testing one strategy at a time, Luke could potentially use the ineffective strategy first, which could cost him business. To rectify this, I recommended that Luke perform an initial round of testing both strategies while the product was still being completed. That way, once his product was officially launched, he could hit the ground running with the most effective strategy. Although the initial results might not be as good, we might learn something valuable that we can use at the actual product launch.
Luke loved the idea, but he was disappointed in himself for originally wanting to test sales and pricing strategies in a less effective way. He couldn’t believe he missed an obvious opportunity like the one I had suggested.
What Luke didn’t realize, however, was this is all part of the entrepreneurial journey.
Luke had recognized an opportunity to improve the world around him. He had the courage to start a company and build the product to solve the need. He sourced a product and development team capable of turning his idea into reality.
He had learned so much in the last year, and yet there was more to learn every day in every direction. He was open to suggestions and feedback and was able to discuss his business plan without a hint of defensiveness. There was nothing to be disappointed about. He was on this journey to learn and grow, and he was doing just that.
It’s helpful to look back and recognize what you’ve learned and would do differently the next time. You now know how to perform more effectively because of your experience (or maybe some helpful advice). If you knew how to do it better the first time, you would’ve done it that way. That’s why the last attempt will make you wiser when facing future decisions. It’s okay that Luke feels disappointed because he didn’t think to test his strategies earlier, but I hope he’s even more proud of the hard work and growth he’s had along the way.