When you start a business you aren’t guaranteed success. But you can be sure that failure will happen, usually sooner rather than later. A lot of people give up at the first failure, some make it through two or three. They don’t believe this simple fact: failure is the catapult which will launch them to their greatest success.
Any experienced entrepreneur will happily let you know that without failure you will never have real success. So it’s time to not just embrace failure, but make it your friend.
Here are 5 steps to turn your big failures into even bigger successes:
1. Take time to grieve
Perhaps you just lost an important client. Maybe you invested months or years into an idea, only to discover that the market just didn’t see your vision. Possibly a business partner left you hanging.
No matter the cause when you have a failure it is an emotional event. Take a little time to let it go. This is a loss and grief is natural. So give yourself a day or even several to get over the fact that things won’t work out as you planned. Once you’ve grieved you are psychologically ready to take steps in another direction. Not grieving may leave you with emotional baggage that will hold you back later.
2. Do a post mortem
After grieving take time to discover exactly what went wrong. Perhaps there was a miscommunication with the client. It could be there wasn’t sufficient market research. Even a lack of a proper contract can sour a potentially lucrative deal.
The post mortem shows you why things fell apart. Missing this step is a huge error. Here experience is converted to wisdom. Remember, if you don’t learn from the failure then you’ll likely repeat it.
“When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.” – Mary Kay Ash
3. Move ahead quickly
After grieving and the post mortem, it’s very important to get back into the game. Meet with a mastermind group and hammer out a better plan. Brainstorm new product ideas or ways to grow your customer base. Don’t wait.
Just as grief is necessary to let go of the failure, moving ahead quickly will give you the confidence that you can still have the success you deserve. Mindset is the key. Action precedes emotion. Take action to get yourself in the right place mentally.
4. Adjust on the fly
Many entrepreneurs fail because they either didn’t have a plan or they rigidly clung to a plan that was clearly not working. It’s a lot easier to adjust course while in motion rather than starting from scratch.
Once things are ramping back up take time to talk to customers, partners and mentors. Find out from them how it looks from their perspective. Make adjustments based on clear and logical feedback. Discovering and correcting small errors now will steer you more clearly toward your destination of success.
5. Fear not and fail more
Failure tends to make us more risk averse. Fear creeps in and tries to convince us to play small. Don’t let that happen. Once you know what caused the failure in the past then you can avoid it and move forward.
Other failures may yet be in the future, but each one will teach you more about your business, more about relationships and more about yourself. Take risks and accept failure as a welcome companion on the path to success.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Most new businesses fail because the business owner simply quits trying. It is the rare person who will push through, repeatedly stepping up to the line to start again. Your success depends on many factors, but perhaps the most important is your ability to learn from and build on failure.
You will have failures. They are unavoidable. But if you grieve briefly, do a post mortem, move ahead quickly, adjust on the fly and keep hustling despite fear then success will be inevitable. Don’t hold back, go all in and when failure comes just smile a bit. Failure without quitting is the greatest sign of your success to come.