Author: Anonymous, Design Fail Submission
Lesson: Always get back to people, regardless of how uncomfortable the circumstances might be, and always give people the benefit of the doubt.
When I started my first business, I had to start at “square one”. The first thing I needed to do was to build a website and get some web presence. Square Space and Shopify did not exist at the time, so the only option was to find someone who could build a site on a platform such as WordPress. With my design background I could create a cool layout, but I needed to find someone to code it. Not having any idea of how to go about this, I did a basic Google search and found a local business that created websites and apps. I loved the fact that the company was a small, local start-up. I set up a meeting and met with the owner for an initial chat to verify the business. It seemed to go well. I set up a second meeting several months later when I was ready to get started. The meeting had been on our calendars for several weeks. In the interim I had moved across the state, so I drove 3 hours to meet with the owner in person.
When I arrived at the office, there was an external lock on the door and nobody in sight. I tried to contact the owner through phone, email, LinkedIn, etc. with no response. I do understand that sometimes people fall on hard times, and you never know what someone is going through, but the lack of communication or prior cancellation of our meeting was what frustrated me the most. Thankfully there were never any financial transactions, so I was only out gas money and time; it was a pretty inexpensive, but important, lesson. It has not made me lose faith in small businesses, and I still prefer to help out start-ups (being one myself).
What I learned is to always get back to people, regardless of how uncomfortable the circumstances might be, and always give people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.