Statistics on business failure are a matter of heated debate. Back in 2014, a study in The Washington Post rubbished the oft-repeated claim that “nine out of ten businesses fail,” saying that it had “no statistical basis.” Even so, a more accurate figure from The Small Business Administration still points to only around half of businesses lasting beyond five years.
As such, there’s still a 50/50 chance that your first startup will fail. If this has happened to you, it’s unlikely to have been a pleasant experience. But does that mean that every bit of the time, money and effort was wasted? Absolutely not. In fact, the value of failing has been discussed on this site before.
As Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” One thing you can be sure of is that in the wake of a failed start-up, you’ll have a heap of lessons to learn from. Every one of them represents an opportunity to do things better or differently next time and increase the chance of your next business being the one that truly goes the distance.
Here are three big reasons why the failure of your first start-up could prove to have been a blessing:
1. You know which tasks not to expend time and money on
It’s pretty much impossible to get a business off the ground without making some mistakes, especially when it comes to putting time and effort into ideas and activities that don’t move the company forward.
However, it’s easy to forget and write off, for example, a futile Google Ads campaign or a pointless dalliance with Instagram if the business goes on to be a success. However, if the company fails, then these drains on time and money suddenly come into far sharper focus.
This being the case, the chances are you’ll have quite a sizeable “never again” list, even if it’s only stored in your memory. Everything on that list is an opportunity not to make the same mistake again whether it’s a web developer you’ll not be using again or acquired knowledge on which advertising strategies do and don’t work. You have a body of knowledge that’s going to ensure your next venture is leaner, meaner and more focussed.
“You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” – Idowu Koyenikan
2. You know what did go right
Of course (hopefully) you got some stuff right too? This knowledge is equally valuable. One way of looking at it is that your next start-up business can operate like a carefully edited and curated version of the first one.
All the ideas, working practices and promotional avenues that delivered results the first time around are things you can potentially recreate (albeit obviously only where the business similarities are relevant!) What’s more, because you’ve done these things before, they should take you less time the second time around.
There may even be documents, contracts, databases and various other things you can repurpose for your next company. This can result in big savings in both time and money. Just because the business failed doesn’t mean there aren’t considerable resources you still have to show for your initial efforts.
The same applies to the contacts you made and the suppliers and companies you used. That network is still there, and once again it’s now a “curated” network – you know exactly who to work with again, and who to swerve.
3. You’ve learned a valuable lesson in resilience
Gever Tulley is an American writer, TED talk host, and founder of San Francisco’s Brightworks school. He says that “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
This is very relevant in start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs who find huge success with their first business actually miss out on a valuable and crucial part of the learning curve, and this can come back to haunt them when there’s an unexpected bump in the road further down the line.
Yes, watching a much-loved business fail can be upsetting and demotivating, but coming out the other side still willing to have another go is undoubtedly a bold and determined move to make. It’s almost inevitable that the process will change you, and will certainly change the way you do things.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
But it’s no bad thing to be more sceptical as to the claims companies make when they sell you something, tougher when it comes to price negotiation, or more cynical about the benefits of jumping onto the latest online bandwagon.
The last quote which I shall use to tie this up is from an unknown source, and it says that “the only person you should try to be better than is who you were yesterday.” If you can stick to that rule and use the failure of a business venture to bounce back with humility and determination, it should set you up well for your next attempt.
All the work that went into that “failed” business still has a huge amount of value. So move forward, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you should stand a good chance of success the second time around.
What failed venture are you grateful for in your life? Let us know in the comments below!
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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners
Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up.
In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.
Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
Learn In a Group
It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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