I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing that I might regret is not trying– Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Those are the words of Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, an online merchant of books and later of a wide variety of products. Amazon.com became the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and a model for Internet sales. And all of this did not happen overnight and like any other entrepreneur, he too had to struggle his way to the helm. He had his share of failure, but what kept him going was his determination to succeed.
These days it seems that starting your own company is something in the mind of most people, young or old. However, it’s important to highlight -and repeat over and over- that creating a startup and building a lasting company is not an easy task. Most startups close within the first two years of operations, thus increasing the importance of understanding that failure is part of the job and an experience people can learn from.
Drew Houston, the co-founder of Dropbox once said,
Don’t worry about failures; you only have to be right once.
Failures are great teachers, and every failure is a learning experience which teaches us what not to do and what to do in order to succeed. The only thing to be kept in mind is that we take the teaching in a positive manner and never lose our focus and perseverance.
We have tried to enlist a few take aways from every failure:
- Admit that failure can happen: One of the most difficult situations for any entrepreneur would be to admit that their product or innovation may not be the one that sustains for a long time. It is hard to give up on the idea. But it is always a mature decision to admit that if you continue doing what you are doing, your business can suffer a blow. Once, you admit that you open up the line of thinking to find ways to prevent the loss.
- Trial and Error are Inevitable at times: Once you know that your business needs a modification you begin figuring out ways to prevent any loss. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to make any headway. The changes might be for instance change in your advertising campaign, hiring better talent, etc. Somethings out of this might not work, but some definitely will and at that point it is important to focus on what works and move on with the strategy.
- Keep alternative plans ready: It is very important to have a Plan B in place. There are so many factors which affect various markets that are out of your control that you have to be prepared to scrap visions and start fresh. Always have a rescue plan which ensures that you are able to fund your company in such situations.
- Seek advice and listen: In case your company’s profits start dipping, it is important to honour client feedback. Listen and understand what they are telling you, either verbally or with their wallets. Listen to media, other influencers in your market, and other businesses that share relationships with your clients. Listen to your employees as much as possible.
Hard work tends to pay off, either in the short or long term. Investors back companies with the mindset of getting a financial return, founders and employees work together with the objective of creating something valuable and lasting… and customers tend to benefit from both of these factors.
Failure is the most probable end for a startup, but exits, acquisitions, mergers and IPOs create value that ignites new waves of innovation. Every failure has a lesson to teach us, all that we need to do is keep our eyes and ears open, in order to address the change as soon as it arrives.
As Steve Jobs once said,
I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.