Three things this entrepreneur learnt from his failed business

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Five keys to business success in 2016

Businesses need to get back to basics and focus on customer retention instead of growth, according to an entrepreneur who recently decided to wind up his food delivery business.

Harshdeep Rapal, the co-founder of EazyMeals, says it is easy to start a company but much harder to sustain it in the long run.

However, writing on LinkedIn, the entrepreneur says his failed business venture taught him some valuable lessons.

Here are three things Rapal learnt from his time running EazyMeals.

1. Deliver on your promises

It is easy to reach a large volume of orders a day in the food delivery business, according to Rapal, but the tricky part is getting the product into the hands of customers.

This is because there are often so many factors outside of a startup’s control, such as a supplier restaurant not cooking the food in time.

“Believe me, it’s not easy,” Rapal writes.

“Customers do not care if you are a startup. Their expectations have been set at ’30 minutes, else free’ level.”

2. Get back to basics

Rapal believes too many people focus on creating a flashy website or app instead of getting their product right in the first instance.

In the case of his food delivery startup, Rapal says he now realises the food itself was always more important than the technology behind the delivery side of things.

“Those 10 minutes [when the food is cooked] need much more attention than the website or the app,” he says.

“If the food tastes great, the customer does not care even if you do no have an app or a website. He will come back.”

3. Put your energy into customer retention

Another mistake entrepreneurs often make is to chase growth at the expense of existing customers, according to Rapal.

“Food is something which the person eats every day,” he says.

“Keeping your existing customers happy helps lowering the customer acquisition costs and in turn managing the unit-economics.”

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Broede Carmody is SmartCompany's senior reporter. Previously, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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