June 1, 2010

On Failure


I’ve failed as the President of FundingUniverse (herein acronymized as “FUN” – yes, I know I just made up a verb from a noun). It’s happened a couple of times before, but now it’s happened again. As FUN grows, measured in units of production, customers, revenues, and employees, it continually forces management to experience personal growth. It can sure be uncomfortable.

As President of FUN I am responsible for all the day-to-day functions – sales, lead generation, product fulfillment, customer service, and coaching. We have 25 or so full time sales reps on staff here in our office. Considering our sales reps are attached to a large percentage of our revenues, we closely watch their activity and production on a real time basis.

We’ve chosen to operate in a crazy space. Yes; absolutely crazy. Business owners are, almost without exception, at least a little crazy. I’m a business owner and I have a little crazy in me. You have to have at least a little crazy in you to start a business. Then, to complicate matters, business owners need money for their businesses to start them, fix them, or make them grow. Then funding sources need to calculate the risk of giving a partially crazy person money. Add emotion, ego, and irrational behavior to the mix (all respectable elements of a good entrepreneur) just for good measure.

We chose to operate in this crazy funding space because we don’t think it needs to be so crazy and emotional. The funding process represents a vivid hell to most business owners. At FUN we’re inventing. Our business model is unique and intelligent. Do all of our prospects and customers agree? Nope, but that’s okay because most of them do.

So what drives us? I can’t over emphasize how much passion we have for entrepreneurship. We love everything about it, even the painful stuff. Who can’t get excited about job creation, improving the quality of life for customers, disruptive competitiveness, and building something special and unique (a legacy)?

I’ll take the pain; I’ll take the failure. I love FundingUniverse and I love the space we operate in – pain and all. How did I fail as President of FundingUniverse? I built a sales model that is just too damn difficult to scale. Not just difficult to scale in sales, but in customer service. Enough customers have asked for us to revise our internal operations so that they don’t have to work with so many different people internally . Be patient and I promise we’ll deliver.

Failure is an event not a destination. Next stop: Sustainability.