Failure is almost certainly to be part and parcel of your experience running a business. It simply isn’t possible to hit a home run every time you try something new with your business and so sometimes we get things wrong or things happen that are outside of your control that result in failure – whether that might be a marketing campaign that doesn’t catch on or a product that no-one wants. This weeks tips column focuses on how we can bounce from our failures, so without further ado here are our Top 5 Tips for reacting to failure:
1. The first thing you should do is embrace the failure positively rather than dwelling on it in a negative fashion. Even if it was your fault that the failure occurred, you have learned a valuable lesson that you will never forget for the rest of your entrepreneurial career.
2. Don’t revisit your failures unless you are prepared to take a different approach. It is true that failure eventually may lead to success – for example, an athlete will probably fail about 99% of the time – but in business doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is not a particularly great strategy.
3. One thing you should probably consider is whether or not you really failed at all. Sometimes it is easy for us to set goals for ourselves that are practically unobtainable and yet somehow we are still surprised when we don’t manage to achieve them. Consider whether or not you are being too hard on yourself or ask someone who knows you about their opinion of what happened as they might take a completely different view.
4. There is usually a silver lining that can be drawn from almost any failure in life. If you lost a contract it might seem like a failure but it could also free up some time for you to work on other areas of the business. Try to create something positive from every business failure.
5. Remember that you are not the first person to have made an error when running a business. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson all had big failures throughout their career but they always came through them and those mistakes shaped the inspirational people that they eventually became.