What Every Entrepreneur Should Learn From the Webvan Failure

I mentioned Webvan in yesterday’s post about the importance of timing. This article from Fortune is must reading for entrepreneurs. Alex Bard outlines four key questions every entrepreneur should ask themselves.

  1. What problem am I solving, and how am I solving it?
  2. Why should I do this now?
  3. Am I building a business?
  4. What would you do in my position?

Question 2 is all about timing.

Why should I do this now?
Knowing when to start a company is crucial for finding your market fit and determining whether you’re building a real business. Webvan, the online food delivery startup, was one of the biggest failures of the dot-com bubble. While there was some demand for food-delivery services in the early 2000s, the market turned out to be unsustainable. Over the last 15 years, mobile connectivity has exploded, resulting in a proliferation of delivery startups like Instacart, Amazon Now, and Google Express. The core concept hasn’t changed; rather, technology evolved over time to facilitate a viable market at a lower cost. These external conditions often dictate whether a company will be successful—so think critically about whether the timing is right for your business.


Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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