Harlan Titus Beverly is a four-time CEO, and a three-time startup founder. His most recent startup was Freebeer.AI. He has done it all. Starting and selling companies, raising capital, running a venture lab, and teaching college courses in entrepreneurship.
I love interviewing serial entrepreneurs. They all share the same lesson; the quickest path to success is a failure. Harlan literally wrote the book. His publisher titled the book “Navigating Your Way to Success,” but Harlen wanted to name the tome “Failing Your Way to Success.”
Harlan has had successes, failures, and disappointments. His last company, Freebeer.AI, did not make it. The reason for its failure is a great lesson for all founders. Freebeer did solve a problem; getting beer to thirsty college students, but he could not monetize the service.
"The most important thing you can do if you have an innovation is validate that the customer you think has a problem really have it! When [entrepeneurs] over invests in an idea before its time, what it means is that you have not yet discovered that there is really a market there, but you go ahead and build the product anyway. They did not actually do market research, test the market, have customer interviews, build a website to test the pricing, [and determine] are people willing to pay for this."
According to Harlan, the most important personality trait for an entrepreneur is the ability to fail and yet persevere. Through failure, you will learn your next pivot. You fail, then your course correct. As his book title should say, "Failing Your Way to Success."
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