Nov. 18, 2015
Now of course, every business owner and entrepreneur experiences failure as a part of success, and not every business I’ve attempted to start, either myself or by helping someone else, has been successful. There have been a few that just absolutely did not work. Part of that was that the person starting the company was not always the right person to run that type of company.
I made a lot of mistakes early in my career by being too excited about the startup process that I neglected to truly analyze if the person looking to start a company was a good fit for that particular industry, or if they needed to look into another area. I’ve even done this with myself.
Experience, though incredibly tough and stern, is an amazing teacher; now, when I look into starting new businesses, and when I look to help friends or clients start businesses, there are instances where I have to be brutally honest and say that we may be able to get this business of the ground, but we won’t be able to sustain it (with you in leadership). Of the companies that have been successful, some of them are mine, and are still in my portfolio of businesses, some of them have since been sold, and some of them were never mine to begin with. When I first got into entrepreneurship, a lot of the people around me got excited and wanted to pursue entrepreneurship as well, and I was more than glad to help them do so!
Failures and bumps are a part of the journey, and critically important building blocks for success.
I would challenge everyone to change their mindset toward “failure”…it’s not that you’ve been defeated, it’s simply that you’ve successfully eliminated an option that won’t work, which means that you’re that much closer to finding what will work!
Also, there is so much to be learned in failure, in fact, I would even go as far as to say that I’ve learned more in my failures than I have in my successes, because they have taught me invaluable lessons about myself that I would not have learned otherwise. A lot of people think that it is success that defines entrepreneurs, but I tend to disagree…I say that failure defines entrepreneurs, for that is where the true spirit or entrepreneurship is born…that relentless, almost crazy dedication to accomplish something and not accept no as an answer. So the lesson in that, is embrace failure. Look for the lesson in it.
I’ve also learned that just because something “works,” it doesn’t mean that it will work for you! Each of us is unique in our process, our passions, our strengths, etc. and that means that there is never really a cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach to anything in life. Just because a certain process works for one person, or they were able to be successful in a certain business, doesn’t mean that you will experience the same results if you do exactly what they did.
Now don’t get me wrong, look and learn! Evaluate what other people are doing and see if it can work for you, but also evaluate it in regards to your own personality to see if it’s something that you can really make work before you waste time and energy on it. Prime example: I came across an amazing business idea, and realized that Greenville had a huge market for this particular type of business, so I decided to buy it and bring it to the area.
Even though I’m a “serial entrepreneur” and consult other businesses, I couldn’t get this particular business to work. That’s because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. There was not a single part of that businesses that I was even the least bit interested in, but I got so caught up in the profit margin that I ignored my gut feeling and wasted a lot of money, energy, and most unfortunately, time, trying to make something work that simply wasn’t right for me.
Do something because it’s in your heart, do something because there is some part of it that you can identify with and will motivate you to work hard. Trust your gut! We all have intuition, and a lot of business leaders don’t like to talk about how much they allow it to influence their decisions, but the reality is, that serves as a personal filter for us. If your gut says no, then you need to say no! Also, don’t ever think that you know enough!