How Did It Start? 🌱
We were a small team of 5 members; my partner Jake was the team lead, an ambitious guy. He and I started our software company back in 2018. With my business partner's vision and ideas about what to do, to become a successful software company. We were absolute beginners at everything except Jake; he was a pro, making USD as a freelancer from Upwork. We had just started learning how to do things professionally. We rented a small office in Saravanampatti, Coimbatore. And having projects already coming in, with the help of our team lead, we all worked on developing an e-commerce platform. It was the project, which gave the team an opportunity to learn to do things professionally. A big thanks to Gunasekar Selvaraj for trusting the team to build his project. He rented the office next to our office and worked all day and night to help us build the platform.
Missed Opportunities 🪴
We had successfully finished the major part of Gtrendz platofrm development; but we also took on many other projects simultaneously until the time came and pushed us to not be able to finish the work in time. Just when everybody had a sense of grip of what was going on in the company, we were not making much revenue to keep things afloat. With Jake's USD and some personal loans from my family, we managed to keep the company running for two years. The problems started surfacing after a year, as we were facing difficulties paying the salary for the team. We started looking for alternate funding options, as some investors had already approached us. They were happy to invest, but with every investor, there was always a catch. It was giving majority stakes to investors. My team lead thought this was a bad idea and was not willing to give the majority stakes away. Just about at the same time, our team members were concentrating on Machine Learning and Augmented Reality projects. And had developed a promising AR project, but due to limited workforce and resources could not keep it going. Just like that, we missed all funding opportunities.
Management Failure 😞
As things were looking bad, our team's performance did too. One of the team members wanted a raise in salary because of his family's situation. We did manage to give him a raise for a few months. Soon after that, everyone required a salary hike, but we were unable to do so; Considering their situations, we had to ask them to leave the company. When management lets an employee go, it needs to find a replacement as soon as possible; here's where we faced another problem. We spent more than a year training our employees; We can't waste more time and money on training newbies. If we wanted to hire experienced professionals as full time employees, we would have to pay a higher salary. Jake had ideas, we could still salvage the company but was very hesitant about bringing in investors. As the popular saying goes;
No Money, No Honey.
By not bringing in investors, eventually we ran out of money; we needed to let someone go or bring in more money. We decided to let a team member go who asked for a raise and fired the one with poor performance. And with the remaining three of us, we decided to work without a salary or very little salary. As days went by, we had nothing to motivate us because we failed at funding and management; we failed as a team. We knew it had come to an end; most companies failed during the pandemic, but we failed before it began. 😂
4 Keypoints To Takeaway From My Experience 🤯
- 👉 Build a steady revenue model before your initial funding runs out.
- 👉 Don't put too much of your own money into the company.
- 👉 Don't be afraid to give the majority stake to investors; bring them in as soon as possible.
- 👉 Don't let your company fall into a state-of-survival, because that is when most companies fail.
Even though we did fail, we learned a lot from the experience. And it helped all the team members gain valuable industry knowledge for their professional lives. I don't know if I'll ever start a new or next company, but for the time being I'm enjoying being a freelancer.