Contributed by Rebecca Tan Li Qi
“It’s not important how you start, but how you finish”, says Errol, co-founder and COO of Jublia.
How many times have we seen start-up founders beaming with so much passion when they begin, only to see them exit the market looking seemingly defeated? While start-ups may fail at certain points in time, the failing experience will most likely help them become more resilient.
In the first week of THE HANGAR Booster Programme, we have specially invited Errol to share with us some personal lessons from his years of starting up.
Lesson 1: Don’t just try.
Most entrepreneurs start from ground zero.
Likewise, Errol and his co-founders had no funding, few connections, and no tremendous competitive advantage apart from their ideas, creativity, passion and intelligence.
With all they had, they went from one university to another (mind you, in Stockholm) to recruit student developers and match them with Swedish start-ups.
Can you imagine them entering an entire hall of foreigners and appearing confident even when they were most probably shaking in their boots while inviting others to join their event?
Yet, this is precisely what they did to concept proof their start-up idea.
And that’s what matters. They didn’t just try.
They went all out.
Lesson 2: Be comfortable with rejections.
When it comes to building a start-up from scratch, every entrepreneur is bound to face rejections along the way.
Errol and his team were not spared from rejections either.
When investors or customers said “no”, they were naturally disappointed but continued to repurpose these rejections as fuel. Every time someone didn’t believe in their ideas, turned down their offers or scorned their proposals, they became even more determined to prove themselves.
As much as rejections hurt, they never allowed rejections to stop them.
Now, they are the pioneers of the first end-to-end business matching technology.
Rejections are inevitable but precious.
Lesson 3: They embrace crises.
Start-ups can thrive when everything is going smoothly. Yet, only some start-ups are able to rise to the occasion during periods of uncertainty and gloom.
In 2020, the pandemic threw a huge curveball at Jublia. Many physical events globally were cancelled and this meant a potential loss of revenue for Jublia.
But Errol and his co-founders realised something.
This is the time they have prepared for. The pandemic had accelerated the adoption of digital technology in the events sector and Jublia could fill this need during online events.
One year later, Jublia continues to innovate with 13 of the top 20 exhibition organisers and has even ventured into the Middle East and Africa.
In a nutshell: Start-ups may turn jittery when crises strike. Only some start-ups see opportunities in crises and turn them around. And these start-ups are the ones that will find success.
Errol’s last advice for someone aspiring to become a great start-up founder?
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” — Alvin Toffler, Futurist.
And the tip is to be hungry and learn constantly.
Interested to read programme highlights like this? Watch this space for more updates on the current run of THE HANGAR Booster Programme (June intake)!