What does it really take to succeed in business?
Most entrepreneurs fail. The ones that succeed in the long run understand that each failure contains the seed of a future success. Entrepreneurs start new businesses, create jobs, build brands, take risks, break down barriers, and fail. They fail early and they fail often.
The ability to fail and to move on is one of the biggest reasons some become successful while most fail.
The truth is failing increases your chance for business success. According to research done by economists at Stanford and the University of Michigan, failed entrepreneurs are far more likely to be successful the second time. Of course, it only applies to those that actually try the second time. Unfortunately, many failed entrepreneurs never try again after an initial failure.
To succeed as an entrepreneur you have to get over failures fast and without thinking that you are a complete loser.
Failing is not the same as being a failure.
Your ability to separate yourself from failure is what enables you to move on to the next challenge. You must think of it as a learning experience not as a personal flaw.
To many, the entrepreneur is the hero of capitalism. The reality is that the life of an entrepreneur is incredibly difficult. Dealing with the perpetual ups and downs of failures requires a kind of failure amnesia.
Perhaps the single most defining characteristic of an entrepreneur is her ability to deal with failure. Entrepreneurs who succeed have a special relationship with failure. Don’t get me wrong, entrepreneurs are not numb, but they internalize failure differently. After a bad decision, they feel just as stupid or depressed as the next guy, but they are able to get over it and move on. Entrepreneurs don’t enjoy failure any more than the general population. Neither are they proud of failure, but somehow they are able to bounce back from it.
Successful entrepreneurs understand the difference between failure and failure. There are different kinds of failures. Sometimes a failure tells you to go another direction while other times it tells you the game is over. We often hear stories about relentless efforts when giving up seemed so easy yet someone stuck it out, just to succeed in the end. It is true there are times when you have to do anything to get through hard times. But, great entrepreneurs know when to keep on fighting and when to fold.
Not all failures are created equal. The best entrepreneurs are guided by their guts. Yes, they consider the facts, but the decision comes down to the final decision maker, the Gut. No amount of data can replace good old-fashioned gut feeling. Many are paralyzed by too much information. They collect more-and-more of it, anything to avoid making a decision.
Serial failure is a fact of the entrepreneurial life. Can you learn to embrace failure? We are taught from an early age that failure is bad. When we fail we are embarrassed. A lesson learned some say. Successful entrepreneurs have such a special relationship with failure that they can smile about it.
Being an entrepreneur is incredibly difficult. You hear the stories about million and billion dollar businesses. There are many lists about success such as the Fortune 500, Forbes 400, Inc 5000. There is no list of business failures published. Perhaps, if such a list existed more people would take comfort in the fact that failure is just another step toward success.
Failure can feel devastating, but if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you can’t let it crush you. Failure and the ability to process it is the most important factor to why some people succeed. Remember, failure doesn’t kill your business, giving up does.
Successful entrepreneurs overcome failure the following ways:
- Accept mistakes – Only wannabes avoid failures, their reward is never accomplishing anything.
- Don’t panic – Successful entrepreneurs waste no energy panicking about failure.
- Focus on the big picture – Failures are part of doing business, they are a step toward the larger goal you set for yourself.
- Avoid negative self-talk – They don’t allow themselves negative self-talk.
- Learn from failure – Understanding that failure is a learning experience is an absolute must.
- Laugh it off – If you can laugh at your failures, you are one step closer to success.