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My Startup Idea Got Rejected, And Here's What I Learned In the journey of entrepreneurship, you go through a lot of experiences. Not all will be good, but there is definitely something to learn.

By Abdulla Barakji

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Entrepreneurship has become a trend nowadays, more than it being a passion. What many fail to understand is that starting up a venture is an ongoing commitment to hard work and persistence. I like to look at owning a business as consisting of three main phases: planning, launching, and scaling. Each phase has an approach of its own that is never a one-man show and needs its own team. For the past three years, I have tried launching businesses a few times, and each time, I learned something new.

I recently applied to an accelerator in Abu Dhabi, UAE called Flat6Labs, but unfortunately, I wasn't accepted into their program. The good thing though is that my idea was initially accepted for review, granting me an interview both with the CEO, and the Program Manager of the accelerator. The interview was only 20 minutes, but that was enough for me to learn from and understand my mistakes.

I wouldn't call myself a startup consultant, but I'd like to think that over the course of three years, I've learned a great deal of valuable lessons that can only come from trying. The beauty about entrepreneurship is that the more you're involved, the more you meet people and learn. Not only that, but you can also meet awesome people and grow your network. Just recently, I reached out to the founder of Insydo, a startup here in Dubai, whose marketing campaign had a lot of people talking. I went to their offices and met the whole team; unsurprisingly, they were all really nice people.

In the journey of entrepreneurship, you go through a lot of experiences. Not all will be good, but there is definitely something to learn. From my experiences, there are a few pointers I came to learn about launching a startup. The first thing you should have is a solid idea and a deep understanding of the vision you have for it. Listed below are a few elements that I think are of great importance to find success as an entrepreneur:

1. Have a team

After putting together an idea that you believe can turn into a business, it's time to find a team that will help you make it a reality. This comes in different approaches and it all comes back to how you want to go about it. You can find yourself a co-founder, hire a team, get "free" help, outsource what you can, the list goes on: it's up to you to decide what's best for your startup.

2. Plan

Plan. Plan. Plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I can't stress on how important it is to plan. Everything you put down in the business plan will go a long way. It is what your decisions will be based on. For that reason, you have to make sure you have a well-structured business plan with a clear mission and vision for the startup.

3. Know your market

This was actually the main reason my interview didn't go well. I made the mistake of just getting an idea of the market, rather than doing a thorough research. It's not something I tried to hide in the interview, but it was a main driver for the investor to question my understanding of the market. After the interview, I did a more thorough research. Just as I began, I did in fact find a flaw in the business model that I was building my whole business on. So make sure you really know what you're doing.

4. Get feedback

People won't steal your idea. In fact, most people don't care about your idea. It's only you and your team, and it's your job to make that idea valuable to the public. You might think that this is not a big deal, but it is in fact one of the most important things you could do to help yourself build a better product or service. People's feedback is what you truly need to build something people like and will use.

5. Keep the hype

You're an entrepreneur; you're passionate, excited, etc. But can you keep the hype going? Startups are full of ups and downs, and the whole journey is a rollercoaster of emotions. It's not a fairytale where you get everything you wish for. It's all about dedication, persistence, and believing in yourself and your team. You need to stay motivated and be able to lead a team willing to work hard to make the startup a success.

Entrepreneurship is not easy and it never will be. If you're ready to put your heart into it and do your best to reach success, then rest assured you will one day make it. I am firm believer that hard work pays off, and this is what drives me every day to work harder and harder until I can wake up in the morning knowing that I made it. Keep going, "treps!
Abdulla Barakji

Founder, Business Buzz

Abdulla Barakji is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and strategist. Barakji is the founder of Business Buzz.  
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