Failure might not be on your list of to-dos as an entrepreneur. However, you’re going to face it sooner or later. Consider treating it as a friend rather than a foe when you do.
Being able to reframe your attitude toward failure offers enormous benefits. First, it takes away some of the sting that failure brings. Rather than seeing it as something to avoid at all costs, you can accept it as a part of business ownership. Secondly, leaning into your failures allows you to learn more about yourself and your company.
Finally, embracing failure enriches your personal story and experience. There’s nothing quite as riveting as hearing about successful founders’ failures. They make those founders sound far more interesting and help sweeten their successes.
Of course, knowing that you should accept failure with grace is one thing. Doing it is another. After all, failing can be hard financially, psychologically, and socially. But when your next one happens (and it will!), try these recommendations to turn your sour lemons into sweet lemonade.
1. Write Down The Lessons you Learned
I could tell you to “learn from your mistakes.” I’m not going to stop there, though. I will suggest that you conduct a full-scale retrospective on the event that caused the failure. A retrospective involves examining all the missteps or miscalculations that led to the failure. After conducting a retrospective, you can implement measures to avoid the same problem.
For example, take Daniel Nathrath’s story. Nathrath is the CEO of a healthtech startup. In a World Economic Forum article, he explains that he failed early on because he pushed too hard with a “move fast” mindset. He made the necessary changes by recognizing his error and readjusting this pace for his market. His willingness to educate himself through objective reflection changed his perspective and strengthened his company.
2. Showcase your Failures as Badges of Honor
As you move beyond your failures, resist the temptation to lock them away forever. Rather, see them as a few scars you’ve earned. The less you treat them as embarrassments, the easier for you to share them with others. For instance, you may want to compile them into a special series for your blog — or even write your first book based on what you did wrong as a newbie.
You’ll be a much wiser and better mentor to your people if you can talk about your failures. Plus, you’ll show employees that it’s okay to fail as long as you don’t make the same mistake twice. Never underestimate how powerful it is for workers to see that their leader values them enough to help them grow professionally.
3. Reconsider your Initial Gut Instincts
Are you running on your instincts most of the time? You’re in good company. Even with all the data, about two-thirds of CEOs rely on their hunches to make decisions. Sometimes, those hunches will pay off. When they don’t, you need to have the ability to pivot so you can fail fast, stay resilient, and move beyond your original theories.
The truth is that sometimes your instincts will simply be wrong. Period. You can’t afford to convince yourself that you’re right at all costs. Instead, you need to be able to reconsider your thoughts. For instance, you may be sure that you know your target audience, but you have to be willing to be wrong. Digging in your heels because you’re “too proud” can lead to wasted time and money. Never let your pride in your abilities get in the way of your company.
Look for Guidance From Other Entrepreneurs
What if you keep failing again and again? Perhaps you need a reset. One way to get the reset is to get a mentor you can depend upon for solid tips. Nearly all people with a mentor say they’ve found the mentoring relationship valuable. Unfortunately, just 37% of individuals are involved in a mentorship arrangement, which means a lot of entrepreneurs are missing out.
To find a mentor, think of your current network. Is there anyone who would make a good sounding board for you? Get in touch with that person and ask about forming a mentoring connection. If the other person is willing, meet regularly. Over time, you’ll be able to learn from your mentor’s errors and stop making the same failures.
Failing isn’t ever a fun experience. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world, though. Using your fails as springboards, you can move toward a more positive and lucrative future as a Noobpreneur.