October 10, 2011
You’ve heard the phrase: “Fail forward to success”.
Take it one step more in terms of your business. Failure really does matter in goal achievement. More and more reports confirm not only that failing is common (more than 95% of all businesses that get started fail), but that it provides invaluable experience, which can’t be bought or studied, for entrepreneurs in building a strong successful business.
“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes;
but great minds rise above them.”
Not only is it OK to fail in your 1st, 2nd or 3rd business before or after a successful venture. But potential investors, partners, bankers, and alliances look at your past failures and conclude:
- you have resilience if you are taking a risk again
- you must have learned something from the previous failure so you’re less likely to repeat mistakes
- you are not a one-trick pony if you can rebuild your company or build a new company
- your family and friends must really believe in you to invest in your latest venture thus making you a more appealing investment opportunity for investors and partners.
Look at your failures as learning opportunities that add to your credibility as an entrepreneur.
This topic would be incomplete without the example of Steve Jobs.
In an article entitled “Steve Jobs: America’s greatest failure,” in National Review, Nick Schulz wrote:
“Jobs failed better than anyone else in Silicon Valley, maybe better than anyone in corporate America. By that I mean Jobs did what only the greatest entrepreneurs can do: learn from their failures. I don’t mean learn from their mistakes. I mean learn from their abject, humiliating, bonehead, epic fails.
Jobs was the architect of Lisa, introduced in the early 1980s. You remember Lisa, don’t you? Of course you don’t. But this computer — which cost tens of millions of dollars to develop — was another epic fail. Shortly after Lisa, Apple had a success with its Macintosh computer.”
And just think, if you learn from each of your failures, it can’t really be considered a failure, can it? Be inspired by Steve Jobs. I am.
Goal Achievement Expert
P.P.S. I still vividly remember attending a Seybold Conference in Hollywood, CA in June 1991, jet-lagged coming back from aa week in Hong Kong. It was a series of state-of-the-art speakers all day every day in a dark amphitheater. Steve Jobs was one of those speakers. What’s memorable about his talk after two decades, are the same characteristics of his presentations he continued to employ right up to his last in August this year: how he came on stage, walked the stage, used the pregnant pause to gain total control of the audience and captivated us both emotionally and intellectually, every time.