You failed at your first attempt of starting a small business? Guess what, so did 1 million other people!
When starting a small business, it would be an absolute miracle if you did not encounter at least one failure or challenge during your process. There is no need to be scared of failure - if anything, you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes!
At the end of the day, we are all human, and failure is not something we tend to take lightly. This is why we have put together 5 sweet and simple tips on how to deal with failure in your business, and how to move onwards and upwards from there.
1. Do NOT take it personally!
Failure in your business does in no way at all reflect failure in your personal life. When you start to spend so much time, energy, and effort on one thing which then fails, we do understand how easily this failure can take a toll on your self-esteem. But try to keep in mind that just because you have not found the right way of doing something does not mean that YOU are a failure.
It is important that you manage to keep your identity separate from failure. If you let your failures define you from the beginning then you are going to make it very hard on yourself to fight for the successes ahead. Keep in mind that the most successful people are more often than not those who have failed the most.
After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
2. Learn, review, revise
Just because you failed does not mean you didn't learn anything - you learned what NOT to do. Actually, you should be happy that this failure happened sooner than later - imagine if your business took off as a huge success and then you had a major setback because of some minor detail. Learning from your mistakes will prevent them from happening again in the future.
Use this failure to your advantage. Take a step back, and review your business strategy. Try to pinpoint exactly what worked and what didn't. Was it your fault? Was it due to external factors? Take notes, gather facts and details, and ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”. Reevaluate all aspects of your business.
It’s just as important to know what caused your failures as it is to know what drives your successes. This way, you can start to fix and adjust where necessary, and do more of what seems to be working. Revise all what you can learn and gather from your failure, and start considering how you can now use this new information in your next steps forward.
3. Accept it, and move on!
Accepting failure is one of the key parts on the road to achievement and success. You are not going to get far if you try to find someone to blame, it's not going to help them or you. The sooner you accept the failure, the sooner you will be able to get back on the road towards success.
Accepting failure is never easy. But we have to break it to you - the more you obsess and dwell over it is still not going to change the outcome. What’s done is done, you can not change the past, but you can direct the future.
Once you have accepted your failure, only then are you going to be able to move on. You might need to try something different, a new approach, a new strategy, a new tactic, a new target. Keep in mind that your next approach might fail too! But that's also ok - do you know why? Because that's just one more thing you will then know NOT to do.
A wise man once said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas Edison.
4. Ask for help
Do not be afraid to reach out to others for help. Whether it is friends, family, professionals, consultants, mentors - just do it! These are all people that can assist you, either in fields of wisdom or expertise, they will all be a great and useful resource to you as a small business owner.
Consider hiring an assistant - someone to help you, guide, you and advise you as best they can. Being a one man business can also be extremely stressful, and its important you do not let this stress get the best of you. Take some of the strain off and let somebody else get their hands dirty.
Another way of getting advice is by doing your research - read anything from books to blogs and articles. People are not afraid of sharing their stories of success, and how they got from point A to B. You will easily find a lot of articles about how to set up an online business, and you can only benefit from reading peoples different perspectives on similar topics.
In the long run it might be a smart strategy to seek help outside - it's up to you whether this means hearing another’s opinion on something, or hiring a full time consultant or visualist.
5. Stand up again
“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.” - William Edward Hickson
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘fail forward’? Well if you haven’t - then now is the time to learn it, memorise it, and live by it. Failing forward simply means that we learn from our failures, setbacks, mistakes, and we get better because of them and not in spite of them.
Failing can either be a curse or a blessing - and the choice is yours. You can choose to see failure as an opportunity to learn, a stepping stone that makes you stronger and smarter. If you can be persistent, you can channel your failures into inspiration for success.
Failure is a teacher from which you can learn a lot. You don’t start off an education already knowing everything in the syllabus. You start at square 1, each day learning more and more, some topics harder than others. Eventually, you are the only one determining how much you will take away from each class and how much you will prepare for the next class.
Failure is a leverage to greater heights, which you should use it as an opportunity to learn from. Making the necessary adjustments might just be the tweaking required for a breakthrough. If you fall down, do not stay down - stand up again, but this time taller than ever.
We will leave you with a one last quote to think about:
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again” - Nelson Mandela.