Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

8 Ways Successful Business Owners Turn Failure into Lessons

2,335 views

Published on

As a small business owner, success isn’t a sure thing — but facing setbacks along the path to success is practically guaranteed. The difference between prosperous entrepreneurs and those who quit is often the way they handle failure. Here are eight Staples® SUCCEED: Small Business Network on LinkedIn community members who learned to turn their failures into lessons when others might have given up — and how you can, too.

Published in: Business

8 Ways Successful Business Owners Turn Failure into Lessons

  1. 1. 8 Ways Successful Business Owners Turn Failure into Lessons
  2. 2. As a small business owner, success isn’t a sure thing — but facing setbacks along the path to success is practically guaranteed. The difference between prosperous entrepreneurs and those who quit is often the way they handle failure. Here are eight Staples® SUCCEED: Small Business Network on LinkedIn community members who learned to turn their failures into lessons when others might have given up — and how you can, too.
  3. 3. 01. Fail Forward Lesson: Often, we fail due to being too timid and inflexible rather than being too bold. Be assertive and risk a little to gain a lot — the dividends could be well worth it. “For me, after failing time and time again, the lesson was to become more assertive and flexible in finding ways to generate more revenue without spending more.” MJ K., Vice President at Vantium Capital/SRG, SUCCEED Member
  4. 4. 02. Pay Attention to the Smallest of Mistakes Lesson: Failure can come in surprising packages, so be open to feedback — even if it seems trivial at the time. You may be surprised at how big of a difference a simple change can make. “Back when I worked as a systems installation manager and bid on multimillion dollar projects, I casually used a swear word while talking to a customer. After that, whenever I bid on a project with him, we would lose. When we put my boss’s name on the bid, we would usually win. It turned out the customer was offended by my language. My boss was a former Marine with quite a gift for profanity, but he never swore in front of a customer. Now I don’t, either.” Jim Green, Businessman, SUCCEED Member
  5. 5. 03. Have a Plan B Lesson: It’s not the most exciting part of running a business, but you really should consider creating one or more contingency plans. Thinking ahead doesn’t mean admitting the possibility of defeat. It’s about providing yourself with multiple avenues to success. “So far, I’ve been able to survive losing one job and becoming an independent contractor three months before the onset of a major recession. I learned to always prepare for the worst and ALWAYS have a plan B.” Jean Fritz, Editor/Ghostwriter/Writing Coach, SUCCEED Member
  6. 6. 04. Learn from Others’ Mistakes Lesson: It’s usually what you don’t know that hurts you. Do the smart thing and learn from the errors of others instead of making the same mistakes yourself. Keep up to date on industry news and innovations from your peers. By watching for stories of failure in addition to stories of success, you’ll have a better idea of what to do — and what not to do — in your own company. “I did not know how to run a business until I failed two times and ended up in bankruptcy court. Today, we buy distressed small companies. I’ve noticed that not one of our acquisitions got into trouble because the owner knew they were doing something wrong.” KC Truby, Small Business Buyer/Investor, SUCCEED Member
  7. 7. 05. Define Success Lesson: Barely succeeding is better than failing by an inch — and the difference between the two may just be a matter of perspective. Take a “glass half full” approach to business to keep from getting discouraged. “One thing I’ve learned is that 51 percent is good and 49 percent is bad.” Steve Dow, Consultant, SUCCEED Member
  8. 8. Lesson: The only truly foolish mistake is the one you make twice. If you have a customer service snafu, make it right and apply what you learned to your policies and procedures so it doesn’t happen again. “A setback is a setup for a comeback. Failure is only avoidable by constantly improving the quality of service; the best way to do this is take a failure and learn from it.” Jenni Canning, CEO at Breathe Easy Mold Removal, SUCCEED Member 06. Don’t Double Down
  9. 9. 07. Know the Cost Lesson: If fear of failure is turning you into a monster, it’s time to figure out what success would really look like for you. Is it just not failing? Or is it about quality of life? You may need to redefine success for yourself and your business to keep your quality of life high. “I learned that it’s okay for me to make mistakes even though they cost money. I hate to waste, but the more I try to be perfect and prevent failure, the more unpleasant I become to the people who count the most: my husband and daughter. That’s counterproductive. Yes, failure is unpleasant, but what’s worse is losing out on enjoying life and my loved ones because I’m so obsessed with avoiding it.” Hope Mucklow, Author/Children’s Song Writer/Teacher/Coach, SUCCEED Member
  10. 10. 08. Remember: Failure Isn’t Fatal Lesson: Even the most crushing blow isn’t the end of the story. The next time you are faced with failure, imagine where you’ll be in five years when your business has completely turned around. Take courage from the future — it may be far brighter than you imagine. “The first time I lost a dream job due to the dotcom crash, I folded like a house of cards. I was devastated. The next time a company I worked for went under, I was fine. Offers poured in. I’m in something of a slump right now, but I’ll never panic again. I learned that I can survive.” Sherry Gray, Freelance Content Writing, SUCCEED Member
  11. 11. Make a list of your most recent failures in your business and write down at least one lesson you learned from each experience. Advice InspirationAction Even if you have to start over in business, you’re never starting from the same place if you are willing to learn from the past. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them.” – John C. Maxwell, Author of Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success
  12. 12. For more inspiring tips for entrepreneurs, visit the Staples Small Business Hub.

×