Launching a new business is fraught with possible pitfalls, and as an entrepreneur it can often feel like one false move can bring the entire process crashing down.
The reality is that business is full of inherent risks, and most business owners have encountered their fair share of failures and setbacks along the way.
Billionaire and the mastermind behind the Virgin empire, Richard Branson, though considered one of the most successful people in the world, has had a career marked by multiple failed ventures. Steve Jobs, ousted from Apple, went on to found NeXT, a venture which failed to take-off but laid the way for Jobs to return to Apple and create MAC OS X
No entrepreneur, no matter how successful, is immune from roadblocks. These household names did not let failure stop them, but instead used it as a springboard to propel them on to bigger and better things.
The greatest teacher
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates
Ultimately there are two responses to failure – you can give up and allow it to halt your professional and personal growth, or you can embrace it and grow from it. The latter is what distinguishes an exceptional entrepreneur.
Those that have failed multiple times have also had the opportunity to learn from those failures and the decisions and thought processes that led up to them. Learning these lessons, especially early in the life cycle of your business, ensures you do not go on to repeat the same mistakes later on, enabling you to avoid far more costly errors.
As a business owner you can never afford to stop listening or learning, and encountering a stumbling block can be especially helpful for highlighting the gaps and weaknesses in your knowledge. Learning where your own limitations are, and what you need to change or improve for next time can only make you stronger.
Pause for thought
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” – Henry Ford
Running a business is relentless, and it is easy to become so bogged down in keeping everything moving forward that you may not have the time to stop and analyse whether you are in fact moving in the right direction. Hitting a stumbling block is often the perfect excuse to reflect on where you are heading, and if your time, energy and resources are being spent it the best possible way.
Moments of failure are an excellent opportunity to pause and take stock of what you are doing and where you are going. Obstacles force you to stop and reflect on a specific approach or strategy, and consider whether it is truly worth pursuing, or whether a change or pivot may be more beneficial.
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
One of the key elements of building the resilience needed to overcome setbacks is how you chose to frame it to yourself, and the mindset you develop around it. Failure is a part of life, and in business where there are so many factors outside of your control, it can happen despite your best efforts.
Redefining obstacles as opportunities and challenges to overcome is key to eliminating the fear that is often associated with them. Fear is incredibly limiting, and can hold you back from taking the risks and chances that can enable you to scale and grow your business – and become a truly great entrepreneur in the process.
Failure is often an unavoidable reality of being an entrepreneur – but the most successful people do not let it define them or their journey. As long as you continue to learn from the setbacks you encounter, and develop the endurance and perseverance to see them through, you will never truly fail.