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Marc Cirera – Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away If You Lack the Passion
16th March 2021 • My Worst Investment Ever Podcast • Andrew Stotz
00:00:00 00:23:55

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BIO: Marc Cirera is a business ethics and CSR specialist with a clear vision: a world where companies operate more sustainably and responsibly. It is for this reason he founded Companies for Good.

STORY: Marc was traveling across South America when he realized just how much the process of booking a bus, the most popular mode of transportation, was. He decided to create an application that would make this process easy. The biggest mistake Marc made was failing to research his idea before launching it. He went all in and came up with this spectacular product, but he soon realized that selling bus tickets was just not where his heart was.

LEARNING: Find that one thing that motivates you the most and do it. It is okay to walk away from an idea that is no longer working; let the experience be your chance to learn. Go out there, test your idea, make it work, and keep improving it as you get feedback.

 

“You will always regret the things you haven’t done, not the things you have done. And so, whenever you have the opportunity to do something, do it.”

Marc Cirera

 

Guest profile

Marc Cirera is a business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) specialist with a clear vision: a world where companies operate in a more sustainable and responsible way.

He founded Companies for Good because he knows that good business practices help companies perform better and because he knows that businesses have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.

A born entrepreneur, Marc was introduced into the business world at a very early age by his grandfather, a self-made businessman. At 19, Marc set up his first business in hospitality while studying Economy & Business Administration in Barcelona. Marc ran the business for four years, then sold it and used the profits to pursue his Master’s in Business Ethics in Sydney.

After graduation, Marc moved to London where he worked at communications consultancy, Radley Yeldar, as an Employee Engagement & Sustainability consultant for 5 years. He helped multinational companies become stronger by putting ethics, values, and CSR at the heart of their organizations.

Marc landed in Dubai in 2015 and joined the sustainability team of the luxury retail giant Chalhoub Group. In parallel to his full-time job, he developed and launched Companies for Good (in 2017) and has been fully dedicated to the social impact start-up since November 2018.

Worst investment ever

Marc was traveling around South America, as a backpacker, after quitting his job in London. Being an entrepreneur at heart, Marc went looking for any opportunities as he backpacked in South America.

Smelling an opportunity

Marc noticed that bus transportation was the most popular mode of transportation given that planes were expensive and there was no railway line. People would use buses to travel across cities and countries. The buses were quite comfortable.

One thing was missing, though. The process to find information such as bus timings and routes and purchase the ticket was a nightmare, especially for tourists who could not speak Spanish. Immediately, Marc got the idea to create something like Skyscanner, but for the bus transportation in South America.

Coming up with the coolest solution

Marc spent about a year working on the application. He did many cool things, such as an amazing website, a fantastic name, and the coolest logo. Marc started talking with loads of bus companies and sharing his idea of selling their bus tickets online. And they loved it, of course, because it meant more business for them.

Going in full-time

Marc traveled to South America again sometime later to negotiate the rates. He did pretty much everything that needed to be done to set up the business.

At some point, Marc realized that he needed to put his full attention to the business. He could not be traveling while developing a business idea. So he dedicated himself full-time. He created a team and financed the whole business because he was 99% sure it would be a great business model. Marc truly believed it could be amazing and was ready to invest in it.

Losing interest

The business model was wholly dependent on selling bus tickets. After a year of doing it, Marc realized that this was something he just couldn’t see himself doing 5-10 years down the line. There was just no motivation to keep doing it, and so he wrapped up the business.

Lessons learned

Find that one thing that motivates you the most and do it

If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, do something that motivates you. Something that you will want to continue doing for a long time. Think about the things that inspire and drive you as a person and as an entrepreneur. What are the things that make you wake up every morning and be excited? What kind of job would you like to do that doesn’t feel like you’re working? Before spending time and money on anything, spend some time thinking about what will make you happy and keep you motivated.

Whenever you have a chance to do something, do it

Whenever you have the drive to do something, do it as long as you know it is the right thing to do. Do not waste too much time thinking; just learn by experience. And if you realize that it is not the right thing for you, that’s fine; move on and try something else. Everything you learned from this experience stays with you.

Andrew’s takeaways

First, make sure that there is a problem your product can solve

Before you launch a product, find an existing pain that the customer feels and let your product offer a solution. This must be a pain that is valuable enough for them to pay for a solution. What might look like a problem to you may not necessarily be a problem to the customer.

It is okay to walk away from an idea that is no longer working

If you find yourself at a point where you decide that an idea you had is no longer working, it is perfectly okay to walk away. The idea may not have worked, but at least you tried. And just like Mark, you will not regret walking away because you tried.

Actionable advice

Go to the market from day one. Do not wait until everything is perfect. Go out there, test your idea, make it work, and keep improving it as you get feedback.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Marc’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to plant 10,000 trees to make the UAE greener and mitigate climate change.

Parting words

 

“It is good to look back and reflect on what you did well, what you did not, what the journey has been, and to be proud of all the achievements.”

Marc Cirera

 

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