According to the New York Times small business blog, You’re the Boss, the main reasons small businesses fail range from poor accounting to lack of a good business plan and a declining market. Other reasons include over-expansion and business owners who are unable to get out of their own way because of pride, greed, or perfectionism. Sometimes it’s hard to see the cause of the failure because of our proximity to the situation. For this reason many entrepreneurs continue making the same mistakes again and again.
Entrepreneurship is high-risk. It takes heart. It takes guts. But, for true entrepreneurial spirits the reward far outweighs the risk. So, the question becomes not if they will try again, but how they can learn from past mistakes and move from failure into growth?
Start by asking yourself these four questions:
1) What can I learn from this experience?
Assess everything that went wrong. Was it unavoidable? Was it a careless mistake? Was I the problem? Answer with brutal honesty. This is not an easy process and there may be a long list of shortfalls, but it will help ensure success in the future.
2) What can I appreciate from this experience?
Now it’s time to understand what went right. Be thankful for those things. Carefully look at these pieces to understand how and why these particular things worked in spite of the others.
3) What can I take away from this experience?
Understand both what went wrong and what went right and how they work together. Do they relate? Are they independent of each other? Create a plan of action to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.
4) What’s the next step?
What would you do if there were no limits? Would you attempt the same venture again? Would you try something completely different? Whatever the case, the important thing is to do something! This failure has not defeated you. Get to work!
4.1 Do I need help? If so, seek help. Learn from others and allow others to offer advice and support. Who says you have to do it all on your own? People want to see you succeed. Let them help.
Once you have the answers you can begin to look at your past mistakes objectively and move forward on to your new venture.
Owning your own business is a challenge. It requires persistence and more hard work than most are capable of. But when successful, the business in exchange offers endless opportunities to learn and limitless possibilities to grow.