Business Planning

The small business advent calendar: 14 December More festive trivia

Hannah Wilkinson | 14 December 2015 | 8 years ago

Over the days leading up to Christmas well be revealing one juicy morsel of small business reading every day
Over the days leading up to Christmas well be revealing one juicy morsel of small business reading every day
Today’s door is flung open to reveal an uplifting reminder that one failed startup doesnt mean you can’t scale the heights of entrepreneurial success.

Richard Branson has seen 14 of his businesses fail but with a net worth of over $5bn, we doubt he minds too much. Opportunities are like buses there’s always another one coming, he has said time after time.

The most famous of his enterprises to underperform was Virgin Cola, which was launched in 1994 and fought for market share until 2007, when the brand was sold off and then discontinued in the UK. Despite the product’s poor reviews, licenses to produce the drink were sold around the world, with the result that Virgin Cola can still be bought in Kosovo, Japan and Nigeria.

Less well known is Virgin Brides, which Branson founded in 1996 shaving his beard off and donning one of the company’s products to promote the launch. The company was wound down in 2008, with Branson citing intense competition? as the reason that he couldnt make it work.

And Branson certainly isnt alone when it comes to having bad business ideas as well as good ones. Bill Gates has also had to let parts of his business empire die out because of underperformance. Notable Microsoft failures include Bob a user-friendly interface for Windows which turned a desktop into an interactive house. Unfortunately for Gates, the idea required more computing power than the PCs he was producing at the time could provide.

Even Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin can’t claim to have infallible business acumen. In 2008 Google created a doomed virtual world called Lively, which was supposed to offer a sex-free version of Second Life. It lasted less than a year before being scrapped and its death was announced in a Google blog with the admission: when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off.

Come back tomorrow for more inspiring small business Christmas miscellany

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