[Editorial notes:Event ticketing site, eventNu shut down recently. Founder, Vishwa shares his experience of running eventNu and lessons learnt in a brave and candid fashion]
Though I was working on it since 2009 but was not full-time on it, I was working as consultant as well (to earn my living). As I was not 100% focused and was also getting paid (through consultancy) and hence was relaxed as it was not going anywhere. Very few clients and very few tickets being sold.
It was 2011 when I actually decided to work on it, full time – no consultancy, no earnings. Just me and my not-so-sure-idea.
It was a difficult decision for someone who haven’t done anything like that before, especially with no business knowledge, family responsibility, EMIs, etc.
I didn’t know if I will be able to make it but one thing which i was sure was ‘to try’. At the age of 60, I didn’t wanted to regret of not trying earlier.
So I decided to give it a shot.
I had lot of responsibilities – family, house loan, school fee, etc. But, I still wanted to do it because of above mentioned reason.
Moving full-time really helped. I was 100% focused on it. Had nothing ‘else’ to do. And was also not getting paid on 30th So I had to do it, simple.
During this period I started getting lot of traction, many clients and lot of tickets being sold. I was literary getting clients every other day. That was a real boost up for someone who was working almost like one man army.
So what went wrong ? Why I decided to shut down the operations ?
I ran out of cash
Event ticketing is a volume game. payment gateway charges are high, margins are very less and client bargain a lot (for as low as Rs. 200/- per month) to get things done. We were not able to scale and get more clients. Simple.
Anyways. So following is what i found as overall issues, mistakes, market and learning :
Issues/ Mistakes/ Market & hence Learnings :
We were working from a closed room ‘assuming’ that we will do great things & get clients. That just doesn’t happen.
One should move out and talk and talk and talk and talk ‘shamelessly’ all the time. You will get to know the real world… you will get to know the feedback .. you will get to know what customers are looking for .. real issues.
As a founder you should better not stay in office.
2) Study your Business
I never studied the overall market in-depth, honestly. It only happened when I came full-time. But by the time I realized the game I was already very late in market and also ran out of money.
One should study the market size, competitors, real problems in that domain. This should give some idea on overall opportunity. Will also help in differentiation required, if any.
How can you even think of just doing it without study ?
3) Technology vs. Scalability
We started eventNu with simple PHP & MySQL. No MVC. No framework. Ah, how the hell we can do it ? OKAY – Let’s do it ‘again’ and use some framework (otherwise how else will we handle tons of traffic and how do we scale)?
We ‘re-did’ whole damn thing using a PHP based framework which end user doesn’t even care
So guys, don’t worry about technology and it’s process. Scaling is a ‘good’ problem to have. Don’t think of it too ahead of time. Let the code be in bad shape. It should just work. That’s it.
We wasted few months just re-doing whole same thing. We might have approached many clients in these important months, set up roadmap, might have studied market in depth, etc.
4) It’s not easy.
I took things easy. And hence was not working in right direction, I think.
5) No Roadmap.
Man! how can you do this ? No product plan/ No roadmap ? Not even for next 6 months ? No targets ?
Just working randomly/ as-things-come doesn’t help – there has to be some path which you can look forward to. But then also don’t waste months on creating a billion dollar plan.
6) Features ::
Adding features ‘on your own’ doesn’t help. End user doesn’t look for 10s of feature. They look for just 1-2 things which you can do best and no one else in market can do it.
7) Use of Network.
I was an active member/ volunteer of various startup groups like TiE Pune, HeadStart’s SSPune, POCC, etc. I should have leveraged that network. I should have pushed top guys of these network and should have ‘somehow forced’ them to help grow eventNu platform. I should have made their life like hell [ not literary ].
8) You have the power.
We underestimated our offerings. We started thinking are we really doing anything great ?. There are 10 more guys doing same event ticketing and registration in India. So what’s the difference ? I think this played an important role in overall killing.
I lost hope / lost confidence in overall business model (because I unable to figure out the offering). I didn’t realized that eventNu was the only platform giving ‘customized’ registration form – no one else was doing it (in India).
Also, the interface was very very clean because the only information which was there on site was only and only related to events. There were no banner and any other type of advts. – that gave a clean look.
So if you are working on something try to realize your power, try to find out your differentiation [because that will be a basic question from every person on earth]
How can you do all these simple mistakes ? Well, it’s easy to say now
We usually ignore basics.
Thanks for taking out time for this. Only objective was to help the startup community, specially first time entrepreneurs.
Let me know your thoughts and lessons which you learnt when you tried something or you learnt from someone else’s mistake.
[Reproduced from Vishwa’s blog]
Recommended Read : Why you should not be an Entrepreneur [And why I am still an Entrepreneur!]