Five Lessons From a Retail Failure (SocialStory)

Another Celebrating Failure piece

This edition of SocialStory’s Celebrate Failure Series is a story of a retail store that achieved early success but eventual failure. Though it wasn’t an organization with an outright social mission, it’s important to remember that businesses such as retail stores also have a social impact by creating jobs and impacting the local economy. And any lessons about failure can apply to both the social and private sector.

Vijay Maroo had dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur by launching a retail store. Vijay opened his first store as a retail outlet for ladies accessories, a 3000 sq. ft. space inside an existing large chain store in Hyderabad, India. The store was a success from the beginning, and unique to south India. The following year, he opened a bigger 7000 sq. ft. showroom with the same chain store in a different part of the city. This also met success by introducing a combination of well-known and new brands and offering competitive prices. Vijay was receiving bigger revenues and profits for his efforts.

With such success, Vijay launched three more stores the following year. But that year also saw the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the beginning of Telangana agitation in India. Unfortunately, these circumstances and others led to a failure for Vijay’s chain stores.

Vijay learned five important lessons about failure from this experience, which he shared with SocialStory.

1. Never take your success for granted, even if you’ve planned extensively.

2. Never thrust your future in someone else’s hands. The stores were too dependent on the chain stores in which they were located.

3. Don’t forget that there are some forces—much beyond our imagination—playing their part in your ventures success or failure.

4. Always have an exit plan drafted along with your business plan for situations beyond your control.

5. Conserve cash judiciously. You should never run out of cash in any circumstances.

Vijay wanted to share this story and lessons to help other young start-ups and social sector organizations achieve greater success. We want to thank Vijay for contributing! You can participate too by emailing us at

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