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I failed once. Hard. Here’s my story.

CNBC recently interviewed me for a story, '11 common reasons small businesses fail'.  898989

My failure had nothing to do with my companies today -- CNBC had me talking about my first 'real' company from 15 years ago.

(The story doesn't mention that my company's cofounder was an idiot savant and primarily responsible for the downward spiral).

Anyway. things are on the up for me today (as I hope they are for you), but I'll bet you can glean some helpful hints (whether you sell on Amazon or not) if you ever want to work 'for yourself'.

Here's the entire article (it's in a 'slideshow' format) - I'm quoted in slides 3 and 4.

(I've copied where I'm quoted, below if you're just interested in reading that. I'd love your feedback, so please add a comment below):


Sometimes the critics of a new business concept are right: Founders are wasting their time on an idea that's a dud or is ill-timed—and haven't done enough testing or market research to find that out ...

Ask Jordan Malik. The entrepreneur from Levittown, New York, co-founded LookTrade in 1999, a tech start-up that helped companies run their own online auctions. It imploded in 2001, during the dot-com bust. 'The reality is, everyone was doing the eBay thing,' he said, looking back with 20-20 hindsight.

Malik learned from his mistake. He left the start-up world behind and eventually got a job at a major advertising agency, selling products on eBay and Amazon on the side. In 2009, after losing his job, he dove back into entrepreneurship and started what became a group of five small businesses to help e-commerce merchants improve sales and profits, offering systems he developed to do so. The sites include FindSpotter.com, which tells merchants what to sell on Amazon and where to find it. Today they collectively generate more than $500,000 a year in revenue for the solo entrepreneur.

'I advise entrepreneurs not to be bullheaded about an idea when everyone is saying the idea doesn't work,' said Malik, now 43.

A poor pricing strategy:

What consumers tell market researchers they are willing to spend doesn't always sync up with reality. Until you test your pricing in the marketplace, it's hard to tell if potential customers will actually pay what you plan to charge.

One reason entrepreneur [Malik] believes LookTrade failed was that there were cheaper solutions for setting up an online auction than what it offered. 'If people wanted a customized solution, there were options that cost about $19.95 a month; our solution was in the thousands,' Malik said. While he and his partner debated whether to revamp the business model, the start-up petered out. 'We were so determined, we burned through our cash,' he said."

(Source: CNBC, 11 common reasons small businesses fail, 7/30/14)

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