Lessons of Failure in Business and in Life!
Very few successful entrepreneurs may succeed on their first business venture. For example did you know Microsoft entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s first business venture was the Traf-O-Data. Traf-O-Data sold just one unit before the business dissolved.
So do not beat yourself up if your business is not going to plan, “if at first you do not succeed, try again”.
You just need to stay focused and if there is a will there is a way.
This also applies to your mental health and everyday scenario’s and it does not always have to be about business per se. You just must find a way to carry on and fight your cause. No one else is going to help you so do not rely on other people and do it yourself. You are the master of your own destiny.
Statistics show whilst most new businesses (80%) survive their first year, only half of them will still exist after five years down the road.
The key to a successful entrepreneurship that has failed previously is that entrepreneurs have seen failure as lessons of how to overcome obstacles.
So, although at first failure may look like doom and gloom, one needs to turn the negative into a positive. Business failures may incur financial hardships, so you must find ways to get around this especially if you bank is not supportive. There are many ways to raise funds including re-inventing yourself and crowd funding. Business failures could also be a breakdown of business relationships with your business partners. You must decide if a person is weighing you down do you continue to have them in your life or do you find a way to move on and leave them behind. After all and this applies to business as well as your personal lives, do not surround yourself with negative people.
Call it tough love and only the toughest survive so that means you must make tough decisions.
Establish what the root of your problem is and then tackle it head on.
Do a deep clean analysis of the failure. Work out the biggest contributing factors that are making your business fail.
Look at factors why you started the business and what you wanted to accomplish from it. Write down a list and also do not forget to say what you ultimately wanted to achieve when you started out. It may be that you may feel you are overwhelmed and have lost the plot of what you wanted then to what is happening now and you can easily start to feel lost.
The following needs to be addressed.
- What was your goal at the beginning of your start-up?
- What problems are you encountering?
- Do you have financial issues and do not know how you will pay your bills?
- Do you have staff issues?
- Do you have management issues?
- Is your product or service not unique or sort after?
- Are you have problems generating business?
- Is your website not optimised to its full protentional?
- Do you have marketing and advertising issues?
- Have you got personal (spouse/partner) or mental health issues that are interfering with your business?
There are many factors that can cause a business to fail and you need to find the core to the problem in order to address it in order to avoid the demise to the business.
The sooner you find what is causing your business to spiral out of control, the sooner you can get hold of the reigns again.
Sometimes you need a moderator, mentor or consultant that can sit on the fence and give you a neutral opinion of what you are doing wrong. Find someone you can confined in, whether it is a spouse or partner or a friend. There is always someone that can lend an ear especially if your failing business is causing you mental and psychological health problems. Do not forget you can also speak with your GP if the stress is becoming overwhelming.
There are always solutions to all problems, no matter how big or small.
Once you have established the root to your problem the next thing is to address it and make the changes.
1). If you have ‘FINANCIAL ISSUES’ and have come to a road block either because your customers are paying late or you bank does not want to lend you any more money, consider ‘FACTORING’ where the banks pays you 80% of your invoice upfront and the customer then has 30 days to pay the invoice whereby the bank will pay you the remainder of the invoice. Do speak with you bank manager about this service as it does not come cheap, but at least you have one less thing to worry about when the customer does not pay as the bank will do the chasing for you. Consider ‘CROWDFUNDING’ and ‘PRIVATE EQUITY’ where you raise funds publicly or through Angel Investors who are looking to support small businesses in exchange for a stake of your company.
If you are starting up and this applies to the UK as other countries may differ, you can apply for tax credits and housing benefit and council tax reductions to help you. Phone your Local Council about Housing Benefit and Council Tax and HMRC about Tax Credits. You can also find information online.
2). Do you have staff issues, consider outsourcing the work to virtual assistants and freelancers if it is office related? If it is manual work, consider hiring school leavers you may even be eligible for grants or sub contractors, these are self employed businesses and you just pay them for the job on a contract basis.
3) Do you have management issues where people are getting too big for their boots. Remember you are the Boss and you say what goes. If you feel that your staff are not pulling their weight, offer incentives to make them work harder.
4) If you have debt issues there are companies that can consolidate all your debts to one manageable monthly payment plan. Never brush your debts under the carpet, they will never go away on their own, instead take the bull by its horns write out all your debts and work out your monthly overheads and contact these companies that can resolve your problems.
5) Is the product or service that you are selling the problem. Reinvent yourself if you must and address pricing, competition and why the product or service is not selling. It could be your online presence is not optimised and you are not generating enough traffic. With this said speak with the web developers, whom are also internet marketers to see why you are not generating enough traffic. Consider PPC advertising this will get you on the first page of Search Engines for the exact match search terms your users are looking for. Also consider offline advertising like Newspaper, Magazine Ads as well as Leaflets.
6) Have you got problems at home such as marital, speak with a counsellor. Or do you feel lonely and come home to an empty home? Whatever the problem is what ever happens at home should stay at home but often we bring it to work with us as we are constantly fretting and thinking about the other person and not concentrating on the work put before us. I am not a marriage councillor but there are many ways you can address these issues. Do some research there are plenty of organisations that can help.
7) MENTAL HEALTH and PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS. Sometimes the stress is too much to bear and you can barely find enough energy to get out of bed, sometimes only wanting to cocoon yourself under the blankets and wait for the world to pass you by. I’m the world’s worst when it comes to this as I have suffered with mental health issues (Depression and OCD) most of my adult life, but somehow I find the courage to face another day. So, from my own personal experience and perspective I have planted a seed in my head. This seed is my goal to achieving what I want in life and I try to stay focused. If on days where the stress is too much to bear, I take time out and do something that I enjoy doing such as writing and reading or watching movies and a takeout. I know I will not be defeated, and I know eventually I will get where I am going.
Consider a dream board that you hang in your office which will be a daily reminder why you are where you are and where you want to be. A dream board (vision board) is a montage of images of all the things you want out of life, call it a bucket list if you will. Every morning take some time to think about your goals before starting work.
So do try to take leaf out of my book and remember there is no success without failure. Rejoice your failure. The failure is a lesson and you can learn from. People who take risks are prone to failure but without risks there are no opportunities. Your self-confidence should not be diminished by your failures, your failure should be embraced as achievements. You have to take risks in order to succeed.
Never be ashamed of your failures in fact teach others and mentor them that failure helps us to learn and to succeed. We have all failed at something in or lives, if its not exams at school or Uni, to driving tests, to personal relationships. Don’t tell me you have never been heartbroken or come close to loosing your life partner, or not achieved careers goals you had hoped for. Life gives us choices and life is what you make it. You either fail and give up or fail and move on, I prefer to fail and learn not to do the same mistake twice and teach others about my mistakes and pay it forward.
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