Failure is a part of life, and this applies to business as much to any other aspect of our lives. Overcoming these set-backs and turning them into learning opportunities however, means failure can be a positive. A way of testing and refining ideas and iterating towards better products and business.
Key to this is mindset. It starts with resilience, having a positive attitude, and a willingness to change. As Winston Churchill used to say, “to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
So, how can entrepreneurs begin developing the mindset allows us to fail upwards?
1. Be prepared
The first step to handling a business setback is to be mentally prepared for it. building a successful business can be a long and arduous journey. You need to be emotionally ready for the highs as well as the lows. If you had high expectations that things would go well and they didn’t, those moments could be more challenging than you expected if you were not mentally prepared.
In the words of Rudyard Kipling, you’ll be successful, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same.”
2. Discover what motivates you
Working alone in an office can be tiresome, so you need to discover what can help you stay relaxed, confident, and motivated. This can be spending time with family and friends, exercising, meditation, etc. One study shows that people who exercise regularly are more highly motivated in life than those who don’t.
3. Don’t make decisions based on your emotions
It’s easy to react emotionally when something negative happens—reacting emotionally as an entrepreneur can only worsen your problem. Adopting a rational reaction will help you analyse the situation quickly and develop a possible solution.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people
Surrounding yourself with a supportive family, friends, colleagues, or mentors can help you when the going gets tough. They can help you to stay motivated and focus on your goals. Research suggests that 53% of business owners have support from families, 38% got funds/gifts from their families, and 35% said their friends and family helped them run a business.
5. It’s okay to accept that you failed.
Having the courage to accept failure, stop the blame game, and take responsibility is one of the most important things you can learn. Most of the time, problems occurring in business can be traced back to mistakes that can be fixed. According to CB insights, 42% of start-ups fail due to lack of marketing and 29% due to cash shortfall. Accepting failure doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it, but it’s a moment to discover what went wrong and ensure mistakes don’t get repeated in the future. The first step toward rectifying the mistake is to own it.
Entrepreneurship is a challenging field. You face a lot of ups and downs that can wear you down, but this is a part of the journey to making your business successful. Keep your head up and stay confident; there is beauty in the struggle. Failures and mistakes provide an opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience.