Failure is a common aspect of entrepreneurship, especially at its onset. All successful entrepreneurs have had their fair share of failures and have risen through the ranks to build their businesses. Notable among some successful figures who encountered failures in the quests to leave a mark; the brain behind the famous theme park, Disney World, Walt Disney was reportedly fired from his newspaper job for lacking ideas and imagination; Ghanaian industrialist and CEO of Kama Group, Dr. Michael Agyekum Addo had his fair share of failures in his early beginnings; Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs was first fired from Apple.
Failure in entrepreneurship provides the avenue for entrepreneurs to really think through their plans and minimize risks. It helps the entrepreneur to also consider priorities and allocate scarce resources in achieving stated objectives. The question is how should an entrepreneur handle failure or setbacks? Failures teaches more than success can, so be on the lookout to learn from failures. Remember in your first few years as a business you will have the highs and lows; good times and bad times. These situations are not odd, but should be considered a stage for one to take higher up the ladder of entrepreneurial success.
Follow these 4 hacks to handle failures and setbacks in entrepreneurship anytime they hit you.
• Be positive and passionate about your business
One common trait easily seen in every successful entrepreneur is the positive attitude towards the business idea. Their outlook in terms of what they are about looks very optimistic and they consider every setback or downturn as a launch pad to greatness for their businesses. We have countless stories of successful entrepreneurs who didn’t achieve success overnight but had a positive belief and were passionate about their business that even in their low moments they moved on to greater heights. Col. Sanders of the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Albert Osei of Koko King, Regina Agyare CEO Soronko Academy, and the lists continues had their share of the entrepreneurship struggles and then achieved their dream goals by being passionate about their “calling” and never relenting to push harder. If at first you don’t succeed, try again as the saying goes. It ultimately boils down to your approach and attitude towards the business setback. If it’s one of positivity and passion you will succeed. Like Edison stated- “I haven’t failed; I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work”. And Oprah advises the millions that watch her broadcast on television, “turn your wounds into wisdom”.
• Take advantage of opportunity
A saying goes that “the successful rise to success as a result of luck or being at the right place at the right time, but most the successful learn to recognize opportunities and utilizes them long before everybody does.” The most successful have a natural knack for identifying opportunities and utilizing them. Oprah is quoted as saying in one of her interviews that, “luck is preparation meeting opportunity”. She admits that she learned to never waste an opportunity to improve or achieve something more. Successful people learn to see opportunity where others may not and they are open to new possibilities and quick to try something new. Psychologists have suggested that often people who think of themselves as lucky are really just better at seeing and seizing opportunities.
A story is told of two sales reps from a shoe manufacturing company who were sent on a sales and marketing assignment in a faraway town to look for business. The first rep saw the inhabitants walking barefooted and concluded that they stand no chance doing business there and left. But the second rep, saw an opportunity to sell shoes to these inhabitants and that resulted in the company establishing a factory there to manufacture shoes and sell it to these folks who were previously walking barefooted. It tells you the second rep saw opportunity where the first rep saw no opportunity for business, all in the same place. The second rep is obviously an entrepreneur with the natural ability to spot opportunity.
As an entrepreneur the setback you face presents in them opportunities for your growth and development.
• Be resilient
Another common trait of entrepreneurs is the ability to develop thick skins, to resolve to be resilient in the face of failures. Any successful entrepreneur worth the tag is resilient. He takes in the knocks of failures and setbacks, stomachs them and come out stronger and better. Many people who envision being entrepreneurs are not able to rise above the knocks of the hard life of entrepreneurship. They cave in and give up, but the likes of Steve Jobs who founded the tech giant Apple- synonymous with human ingenuity, was whisked out of the dream he birthed but his resilience paid off when he bounced back and lead it to greater heights. Apple is achieving enviable milestones in the tech scene and at one time was the most successful tech brand in the world. It still ranks in the top 3 tech brands globally.
That’s enough resilience from a founder who could have caved in when the odds were against him.
RELATED ARTICLE: 20 Defining Moments in the Life of Steve Jobs
Some people (successful entrepreneurs) are naturally resilient, but resilience can be learned. To develop resilience, one needs to have a positive outlook, have a good self-esteem and mentors to encourage him on the entrepreneurial journey. In her widely acclaimed biography, Oprah admits that, “for every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there is somebody there to show you the way out… for me it was teachers and school.”
• Learn from failures and make the next move
Actions will forever beat every good intention that does not see the light of day. You will need to learn from failures, plan, strategize but most importantly, you’ll need to act. And act quick. Although you are going to learn and get a great deal of expertise from plans and strategies, action is the only reward, whether it’s a win or a loss. Consider what worked for the business in the past, what are the current trends disrupting the industry you operate in and figure out a way to stick your neck out and act quick. There’s the usual tendency to think on paper for long in the name of finding the right hack to hit a good home run but it shouldn’t just stop there and not for long, take action. Is it an upgrade in managerial competence, leadership style, networking and building some great client relations or developing the human potential in your business? Whatever the case figure it and take action.
Failure seems bad for anyone who has put in time, resources and sweat into any enterprise looking for returns but it’s a very necessary and sufficient condition for growth of the enterprise in the long-run. Be positive and passionate, remain resolute about your business in the wake of setbacks and failures. Be on the lookout and take advantage of every little opportunity. The little opportunity may be your eureka moment to hit a big home run, and last but not the least learn from failures and make the move.
Author: Paa Swanzy-Essuman || firstname.lastname@example.org