Mistakes Young Business Professionals do not have to make

As a young business professional, you have several things going for you. Determination, drive, health, strength and the opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes. This last factor can decide the limits of your success potential. Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, looks at 4 business failures and breaks down the lessons you should learn.

Never ask a question you don’t want answered…

In perhaps one of the worst Twitter ideas ever, JP Morgan announced the “askJPM” campaign. The intention was to open a dialogue with consumers in order to win back trust and respect. What the company got was rage, snark and yet more rage.

Refuse to adapt: Blackberry once ruled the smartphone universe. Now the company is a distant also-ran. Why? Simple. They completely refused to adapt to what consumers are looking for today and they vastly underestimated the crossover appeal of business applications for consumer smartphones.

Miss your chance…

Ever heard of “Nouncer?” Most people probably haven’t. See, it’s the forerunner of Twitter that never actually got off the ground. Nouncer was in development long before microblogging even existed. The developers didn’t know how to explain it to consumers until AFTER other microblog services were released. Then they just used those business models to explain their own. “See, it’s just like…” is never a good way to introduce your “new” idea.”

Work outside your ability…

Overto was an Internet service that grew quickly. At least, according to its founders, who said the company grew until they reached a level where they could no longer reach people “effortlessly.” They needed marketing savvy. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any, so the company tanked. To succeed you must have all the angles covered. You can’t just be great at ideas or tech or development or distribution; you have to be equally good at all of those things. One weak link is all it takes to crash and burn. The lesson here is to be sure your team is strong in all areas before trying to build something. Otherwise it will just fall down around you … no matter where the “weak” link happens to be.

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Don’t take this list lightly. Those who stopped here just for entertainment are likely to miss the lesson and learn the hard way anyway. Don’t be that guy (or girl). Be the person who takes your potential and adds it to the wisdom of those who have made the mistakes you don’t have to. Don’t just stand on the shoulders of giants, watch out for the potholes that tripped up anyone who has traveled the road you’re on before you.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.