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We love – no, we ask – a good origin story. Hero or villain, we want to know what circumstances lead you to where you are. Think a lot about your favorite character in a story. They probably failed somewhere along the way (it has to have a solid, drama-filled plot, or who cares?) and came out stronger because of it. We lift up these fictional stories and celebrate the journey very much.
Why can’t we do this by ourselves? Failure in business can be scary, unpredictable, and emotionally draining. If you’ve already started a business, you’re aware that taking risks is an integral part of your entrepreneurial journey. And with great risk comes… great fear of the unknown! That, and many rewards. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that all the great entrepreneurs who came before us have seen their fair share of failure at some point in their careers, whether it was a bad initial business plan, lack of understanding of the industry, or just a few. bad moves (I can talk about some bad moves…). The beauty of failure is that it gives you a reason to get back up. Because, as the great Aaliyah sang, “if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”
Now that you’ve got that song in your head, here are six ways to learn and evolve from an entrepreneurial journey gone wrong:
Related: View Failure as an Opportunity to Learn (and Leap to Success)
1. Reevaluate your business plan
Re-evaluate your business plan, or pivot entirely if necessary. Was your product or service not ready for the market? What kind of feedback did you get? Identify what went wrong and why, and then create actionable conclusions that you can use in the future. Instead of wallowing in defeat, take constructive steps to understand where things went wrong. Was there anything you could have done differently? To what extent was luck involved? Self-reflection should be part of your quarterly, annual, or semi-annual review.
2. Set new and achievable goals
This is fact, and you’ve probably heard it 1,000 times, so here’s number 1,001: Set goals that are smart and achievable. Take a look at what went wrong with the project that failed and understand because Failed. Sometimes our failures are simply seen as failures because of the goals we set for ourselves. You say: “I want 1000 users in the first month of launching my brand!” And I wish you all the best, by the way. But that may not be realistic, especially if you haven’t planned your marketing properly or started any external research. A smart goal would be more like “I want to collect enough emails or contact information from my boosted post.” From there, you build a following or brand awareness that can get you to 1,000 users much more easily.
3. Learn a valuable lesson
Who doesn’t like a good lesson? Is it even a good lesson if you don’t cry a little? After the tears have gone, it is worth looking at the situation and considering where you can become stronger. Do you trust someone without fully researching them? Didn’t have enough money saved for your business? Here’s the good news: YoAlright. And the best news: ANDYou’ll be better for it. Just remember not to make the same mistake as you go.
Related: 10 Lessons About Failure Every Entrepreneur Should Know
4. Acquire new skills that will take you further
Sometimes we fail because we don’t have the right skill set or need to hone our skills. Once you have realized the areas where you need to improve or refine, use the time to accumulate more knowledge. You may even find that your entire business idea changes or turns into something you hadn’t thought of. Be flexible with yourself. Learning new skills only broadens, never narrows.
5. Discover your true intentions and purpose
What motivates you? Failure has a funny way of prioritizing what really matters, or what things ought affair. Chasing money, helping others, serving your community or a community in need, being the number one real estate agent… blah blah blah. Maybe your true purpose is hidden behind the mask of what you think is a successful business.
6. Encourage others with your story
Sharing your story of failure can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking, especially if it brings up difficult memories and emotions. On the other hand, sharing your story can inspire and bring hope to someone who is struggling with the same issues.
Look, I get it. Log on to LinkedIn and see so much success: new jobs, new careers, new businesses. But the honest and vulnerable moments are where we can really learn something about who we are as entrepreneurs. If you’ve failed, well, join the club. I also have. Most of us reading this have But if you’ve had a bad affair, don’t let it define you. Dust yourself off and try again…and again. It is what defines you as an entrepreneur who takes risks.
Related: How to Turn Failures into Wins as an Entrepreneur