Business Lessons from a Failed Tomato Business

Categories Business & EntrepreneurshipPosted on

Life is all about experiences, and one of the things that can offer great experiences is failing at something. Failure is not funny when you are in the middle of it, but as time moves on, you and your friends will love and laugh at the experience.

In my second year of campus, I was broke. For starters, I did not have enough school fees, and two, I did not have an idea where I would get the money, and so I thought of starting a business.

Right before I started campus, I used to attend entrepreneurship classes. My mentor would give me ideas, numerous ideas. I would take the principles he applied and use them to develop other concepts.

In my first year, I tried a necktie business, and it worked. I earned so much profit from that business and another avocado business (shout out to all avocado lovers).

The second year was not that simple, nonetheless. My businesses crushed. After weeks of thinking, I thought of selling tomatoes.

How did I plan everything?

The biggest challenge was getting into it. I did not like putting myself out there, but you know what, I had to try it. I sat down the thought of the name, which was “tom-toes,” target was my schoolmates, and the marketing technique was to form a Whats-app group to inform my “loyal” customers that the stock was ready.

You may ask, why did I think of selling tomatoes of all other products?

Once the rainy season came, it was difficult to get good tomatoes at school. Therefore, I took it as an opportunity to earn some cash.

After luring my roommate to be my business partner, he agreed. We went out, looked for our supplier (I still have his number to this day), and we started business immediately.

To cut the story short: The business was a good idea, but it failed miserably.

 What are some of the lessons I learned from this small startup?

  1. You have to put yourself out there

It is the most challenging thing to do. I am an introvert at heart but very extroverted externally. That means it is easy to detect my feelings because my extroverted self can express it. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to tell everyone what I am going through- it is a no-go zone.

Do not let an idea go down the drain. It pains to see someone implement something that you wanted to do.

Go out there, try it, and if it fails, you will get the reason you had to learn it as time goes by. Do not fear that people will laugh at you. My closest friend laughed at me and even went to his room that day to pray for me.

I tell people about that business, and they laugh at me. Like seriously? However, my experience was worth it.

When I launched the business, people would buy from us more than they would buy from others, for the reason that they wanted to support our hustle since we were students like them.

Some even used to encourage us to continue selling and that they loved the idea.

  1. Business is all about saving time

Apart from branding, you have to keep time, which saves money. One time, I delayed opening shop. The tomatoes rotted, and that cost us. It put pressure on us that we would have to open shop whenever we had new stock.

In addition to that, there were times when we would have the best tomatoes in school. There was this one time we had to close shop as soon as we opened it. We sold out everything since we were the only ones who had the best tomatoes at the time. They were big and colorful.

We had to go home with our pockets loaded with silver coins, which I tell you, they can be heavy. Besides that, we should also understand that some businesses operate well in a certain time and trend.

  1. Do not give up

One of the problems my business failed was the fact that it cost me too much to get the tomatoes. Therefore, that expense drained me. On the other hand, I think that if I gave the business more time, then I would make it to the top.

However, note that the business would succeed if I remained consistent. I would gain trust from my clients, which is integral for any business.

I had the best product, but I did not have the best strategies to get it out there.  For those who desire to begin their online venture-since, I get this question a lot, do not give up since you cannot find results at the beginning.

You have to invest a lot of money to be successful, which is something that most people are not ready to do. By the way, the online business takes time before people can trust you and your product; you have to be patient.

  1. Selling stuff boosts your confidence

For those who do not have self-esteem in themselves, try starting a business. I was fearful because I used to sell my products where other women from the village placed theirs.

Now, that would form a stereotype, and sometimes, I would have the feeling that people would disrespect me. However, that did not stop clients from doing business with me. I still made money, nonetheless.

Before I would go to my “shop,” I would have to dress up. That is because I understood that I was the representing the product.

Huge brands employ brand ambassadors for their products to boost sales. These ambassadors are celebrities. Therefore, see yourselves as a celebrity and brand yourself.


If you have an idea, start it. Do not worry about the criticism you will get at first. Sometimes people discourage you because they do not see the bigger picture. Note that there are a million and one lessons you can learn from a failed business.

Those lessons usually boost you to the next level. Do not feel discouraged because a business failed. You have to pick up the broken pieces, mend them together, and move on.

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I am a Christian Writer, Author, Entrepreneur, Thought Leader, Musician, and of course, the Founder of Am Alive Concept.


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