Do you realize that entrepreneurs fail way more often than they succeed? So if you’re prone to fail way more than you succeed, what are you really afraid of and how can your failures really be successes in disguise?
Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and is a co-host on ABC’s Shark Tank has been quoted as saying; “Failure is Part of the Success Equation.”
In an interview on Entrepreneur.com, Cuban said just last month that he’s gotten fired from “more jobs than most people have had.” He’s also failed to close several key sales deals, has had his credit card rejected and cut up on a date, and he’s opened and closed more businesses than he can count.
Steve Jobs, the legendary founder of Apple and a leader of the technology revolution from the 1980’s to his death a few years ago, failed miserably. His Macintosh personal computer line was no match for Microsoft’s partners and marketing arm. He was kicked out of his own company before Apple asked him back a few years later and well… you know the rest of the story.
If you think these guys started with money you would be wrong! They didn’t have any money and they grew up with humble means. They failed their way to success!
If you feel like you’re struggling in your business, you are not alone! Everyone who has ever owned a business that has been successful has failed.
We have all made bad, bad, bad decisions and choices at some point. No one is immune.
Here is an interesting statistic. According to the US Small Business Administration “about half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more.”
Six Ideas to Help You Overcome Failure and Be Successful
In the last ten years I’ve owned several businesses. Some as a solopreneur and others I grew that had employees. Some I sold, some I just flat plain failed at. Yet, through it all I’ve learned how to be successful and make money through failing.
So, let me offer you six ideas that will help you either overcome your failures:
Keep an Open Mind
Right now you may think your idea or business is unique and it’s the best that’s ever been. Yet after a year, two years or maybe three years your finances are worse off than when you began. It may be that you have a great idea but your hell bent on how you implement and execute your business. Be open-minded and remember that there are always better ways to do things.
Don’t let your pride get in the way of your success.
You’re in business to do two things in my opinion:
- To make a difference! Know what the difference is you want to make and allow your purpose to drive your business
- Make money! If you don’t make money then you don’t have a business. You have a hobby that is sucking the money right out of your bank account and your credit score.
Have and open mind about what needs to change so that you can have better results and success.
You are going to make some bad decisions and mistakes that could hurt you and your reputation. Just in my own life last weekend I did something pretty stupid on my blog. There was a format that I had seen I really liked. Without thinking and offering a courtesy call I used the format in my article – the content was my own. The person I used the format from reads my blog so I wasn’t hiding anything or being malicious.
However, a few people didn’t like that I did that because I didn’t give credit for where I got the layout. Okay, I was wrong and I get it. I wasn’t completely thinking about the obvious and made a few people upset. I might have even hurt my reputation with a few people.
What did I do?
I apologized publically and I changed the layout of the page. I then apologized privately afterwards as well.
Here is the good news. I maintained an online friend and there are no problems or issues, at least that I’m aware of. Now, I’ve moved on and I’m not going to worry about it.
If you make a bad decision just do the right thing!
It happens to us all and no one is immune.
You’re saving grace will not be how well you save face. It will be how accountable are you willing to be for the choices you make. Most mistakes or errors can be resolved, by “I apologize. What can I do to fix this?”
Network with People Online and Offline
For many entrepreneurs networking is a natural thing. For others it’s not. Regardless, if you’re going to make it you must learn how to understand people and personalities d and give them what they need to the best of your ability.
Your goal in networking is not to help yourself. It’s to help others.
Zig Ziglar said it best;
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar
It’s amazing if you think about it. How many people can you actually, personally reach? Not many or not as many as you think you can. However, if you help ten people who know ten people that could benefit from your service, that’s instant access to one hundred qualified prospects that are referrals.
Just let that sink in a bit. The reality is that you don’t need to know everyone nor is everyone. You just need to network with the right people who know the right people who have the resources and who might be a good match to buy from you.
Networking online is similar to networking offline. It’s just that the tools are different. Check out my recent article on how to network online titled “One Over the Top Idea To Help You Grow Your Business Online.” I share some practical tips on how your business can be blending your online and offline experiences. It should never really be one at the exclusion of the other.
Every Problem Has an Ending
Stress does weird things to people. One thing that has helped me is to realize that every problem I have ever had is muted with time. Time really does heal all wounds.
Remember, failure is your friend.
Cuban later said in the article in Entrepreneur Magazine;
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t fail… a lot. The good, the bad, it’s all part of the success equation. I really wouldn’t change anything at all.”
The ending to each problem you have is when you choose to personally learn from it, grow through it and overcome it.
As Cuban has said on many occasions… you can fail numerous times. It doesn’t matter how much you fail. You only have to be right one time.
Don’t Focus on Being Comfortable
Do you want to be on a one way road to failure? If so, seek comfort and what you know. It will guarantee your businesses demise. Risk is a part of business and real learning is almost impossible without experimentation, but experimenting is risky business.
I was recently watching a video with Gary Vaynerchuk as he was talking about the innovations and changes happening to every single industry because of the internet.
One thing he said that I absolutely love was:
“The way to lose your business is to be romantic about how you make your money. How we’ve always “done it” is a losing mentality. Innovation doesn’t care.” ~ Gary Vaynerchuk
Let me take it one step further. Neither do your customers or your competition! If you choose the road of comfort you will one day wake up to find out that you are obsolete. Your competition will pass you by and take your customers.
Because you chose the path of comfort over innovation and you allowed your fears and insecurities to get in the way of advancing your business.
Anything worth doing always requires some risk, and with risk comes failure. Don’t be afraid to fail!
Know What Business You are Really In
How many of you can answer the question; “what business am I “really” in?”
My experience says it’s one in a hundred and I’m willing to bet you’re in the top ninety nine.
The answer to this question is so foundational to your business that believe it or not your inability to answer it may determine how fast your business fails.
The answer is found not in your opinion, business model or in the products or services you provide. When I ask this question, I universally get an uncomfortable answer that tells me what the business does. But, I didn’t ask what does the business do?
I’m working with a ministry in Maryland right now that is just starting up. They have several acres of land and a really big house that they plan to use to help people who have problems with addictions and criminal backgrounds that are coming out of the legal system and re-incorporating back into society.
When I first asked them what “Ministry or Business” are they really in, they told me forty things they do.
But, as we started talking and probing and looking at it from their customer’s point of view what they discovered was the real ministry they are in is; “Taking those with little hope to a place of hope.”
Do you think they can say that in 30 seconds in an elevator and be persuasive? Can people quickly understand what business they are really in? Of course they can!
All of the things they do in their recovery program leads people who feel they have no hope to a place of hope by offering:
- Job training
- Shelter while they are getting back up on their feet
- A caring environment
- And much more
They are helping people get their lives back. They are offering them hope!
But if they just told people what they do the person on the receiving end might be courteous but they are bored, uninspired and trying to quickly find a way out of the conversation.
Can you see how something this basic can be the difference between success and failure? Yet, 99% of the businesses out there have never been confronted with solving this question.
That’s why networking events and thirty or sixty second “commercials” are boring. Don’t tell me what you do; tell me what problems you really solve. Unfortunately, you cannot do that until you know what business you’re really in.
Knowing the answer to this question is critical to all of your messaging!
Let me get one thing really clear here:
YOU ARE FIRST IN THE MEDIA BUSINESS – THEN YOU ARE IN THE BUSINESS YOU ARE REALLY IN
If no one understands you, if you can’t communicate what they need to identify with you, then you are going to struggle.
See, you’re not in:
- The banking business if you’re a banker
- The insurance business if you’re an insurance agent
- The retail business if you sell merchandise
- Coaching business if you’re some type of a business coach
- Web design if you’re a web designer
- … on and on I can go
What about you? What business are you “really” in? I almost guarantee you cannot answer this question by yourself. It requires research, brainstorming and a full understanding of who your audience is. But if you do, you will find success in a short time.
Are you embracing your failures or are you having a pity party around them? Why not instead have a real party and celebrate your failures.
No one ever learned or improved because of success. Not one company became successful because of success. If you study businesses and industry leaders what you will find is that like Mark Cuban they all learned from their failures how to find success.
When you think of success, what comes to mind? Is it money and wealth, popularity or maybe longevity? It’s easy to base what we think success is by the way the media portrays it or by what we see of the “successful” lifestyle.
What the public never sees are the tears, sweat, struggles, bad decisions and suffering that can accompany building a business.
If you’ve never been around successful business leaders who are real and honest with you or your hanging out with people telling you the rosey side of business all of the time, I encourage you move away from them immediately.
Because they are not interested in helping anyone but themselves and there is always a motive. Find a mentor or coach who will share their real experiences with you and enable and encourage you to fail responsibly so that you can grow through it and build the business you deserve to have.
In today’s world there are ways to start businesses with very low or no barriers to entry. If you’re going to start a business or you’re in a business but haven’t done the foundational work it’s not too late.
Have you experienced failure? If so, please share with us in the comments section below and help me encourage other business owners. I look forward to your comments, ideas, and thoughts!