If you have found yourself asking “why did I fail in business?” or “where am I going wrong with this business?” you are very far from alone. A large percentage of current fortune 500 company owners were once declared bankrupt in their past. So if they got it wrong once, there’s hope for everyone to try again and get it right.
Although I’ve never been bankrupt I was close to it at one point because of some bad decisions about who to involve in my business and my inexperience about how to generate consistent income to cover the very regular costs. Because many consultants and business authors only talk about their success and positivity, I thought I’d write a post on the things that can knock us back but also teach us the most in the shortest space of time that can propel us to success. IF we learn the lessons and don’t take it personally.
We have all heard of the American dream but actually it’s more of a western dream that in most English speaking countries we are taught from a young age. The story goes something like this: you pick a good idea, you work really hard and never give up, then you will have a great life. You are only limited by your own ambition and how hard you are willing to work.
So when you do this and fail you think; it’s my fault, I didn’t work hard enough, why didn’t it work for me? There must be something wrong with me, I’m not cut out to run my own business.
This whole idea is a fallacy though and let me explain why. If I wanted to build a huge bridge tomorrow that had to carry heavy trucks and also trains across a great span of water, that had to deal with all types of weather conditions and cope with a shifting sand bed, I would fail. I am not a civil engineer or architect, I have no idea what materials to use or what design would hold up, it would take me years to learn what I needed to know. No matter how hard I worked or how many hours I put in or how ambitious I was, if I wasn’t going to delegate the design and I wanted to do it myself then it would take a long time to learn the technical details. Why would being good in business be any different?
So many people think great ideas and hard work make successful and profitable companies. Wrong! Well executed bad ideas by good business people will beat any good idea poorly executed by a newbie almost every time.
So to be good in business you have to go back to school and study? No. Look at most of the top entrepreneurs in the world and they hardly hold any higher education between them, let alone in business subjects. They learned from their mistakes and also had good business mentors so they could take shortcuts.
I like to think of myself as a fairly humble person, I am happy to admit what I don’t know and find the best person who does. I don’t listen to friends or big mouths who shout around about their “advice”, I look for the best people and ask for their help. I have been very fortunate to have some great mentors around me that didn’t let me consider defeat but also guided me out of some very difficult situations, often propelling my business forward in a few short months by solving problems I had been quietly battling with for years.
So to summarize, here are my top 5 tips to survive failure and succeed in business:
- Admit to yourself that you don’t know what you don’t know. Business is a skill and an art, just because you had a good idea, you have seen others run a business and you read the Forbes website a few times it doesn’t make you Donald Trump or Richard Branson. Even they took advice from others regularly years ago AND today. I am still on a steep learning curve about business and will be until the day I die, any good and successful entrepreneur will tell you the same, no matter how long they’ve been doing it or how old they are.
- Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t beat yourself up because you made mistakes. Learn and move on. Restarting a business with a better plan and experience of what works and what doesn’t, without all the dead weight, debts and bad staff can often be the best and quickest turnaround.
- Get help from people who know business but specifically those that have created businesses of your size and made them successful. Industry sector is not so important but experience in different sizes of company is. People who have worked with a diverse number of companies is also worth way more than someone who had success and experience with just 1 or 2.
- Sales is king. Sales creates income and with the right level of income you can do almost anything. Great products and services DO NOT sell themselves despite what others say, especially in the beginning. Sales strategy and creating a sales focused business is not easy, it’s another set of skills and techniques that have to be learned and mastered.
- Don’t get comfortable. There’s a reason why shareholders in major companies like to see continuous growth even if it’s just slow and steady. That’s because standing still or even slow declines can lead to bigger problems. Any growth and progress in business, no matter how slow, is better than sitting still.
I have been doing business mentoring for a few years and since the beginning of 2014 I have been doing it on a more structured basis with great results. I used to do it for free but unfortunately that also attracted the least committed people so I charge a nominal amount of £35 GBP or $59 USD per week to weed out the time wasters and get a level of commitment. There is no minimum term so you can cancel at any time. So if you’d like to see how I can help you with your business and give some advice that will grow your business rapidly, use the subscribe button below and we can schedule a call.
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