No business owner plans to fail, but sometimes your best laid plans go awry. Even when the results aren’t what you want, you can turn those situations into learning experiences and stepping stones on the pathway to success. Here are some tips to help you and your employees think pragmatically about disappointing results and turn business failures into success.
Acknowledge Your Results
When you experience a setback, acknowledging the situation for what it is can help you turn it into a success. Ignoring the situation or making excuses takes away your chance to correct what’s happened. Likewise, obsessing over the failure keeps you locked in the past without the chance to move forward. Take a break, dust yourself off, and move on. The earlier you can move on, the earlier you can focus on your next venture or take steps to repair your current situation.
Take a Step Back
As a small business owner, you put your heart, soul, and energy into making your enterprise succeed. When your plans don’t turn out as expected, it can leave you feeling drained. You can avoid burnout and give yourself time to think by taking a step back instead of heading to the drawing board immediately. It’s a good idea for you and your staff to take some time off and recharge your batteries. Being well-rested gives you a fresh perspective to understand why you missed the mark and how you can turn things around.
Avoid Blaming Others
It’s rarely the case that a single person is to blame for a business failure. For failure to be a positive learning experience for your employees, avoid pointing the finger and blaming others. Instead, get together with your employees and engage in a substantive discussion about what caused the failure. To gain respect from your employees, you may wish to own up to your part in the situation. It’s also important to remain upbeat while taking stock of a failure, which gets your employees excited about achieving success the next time around.
Treat It as a Lesson Learned
Even the most challenging of situations offers a learning opportunity if you’re willing to look for it. Instead of dwelling on the outcome, look at what got you into that situation to help you improve your chances of success next time. Many successful people fail more than once. For example, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, had her second book rejected 36 times before she created her major online news publication. In its early stages, the Huffington Post also faced negative reviews, but now it’s one of the most largest news sources in the world. By dissecting the situation, you can create a list of things to avoid and a list of things to try net time.
Don’t Fear Failure
Entrepreneurs rarely get it right the first time. It may take more than one try before becoming successful. Don’t let fear control you. Fear has a way of locking you into a mold of what’s safe, but what’s safe may not be right. Trying new things helps you find something that works. Maintaining a positive attitude and regaining your confidence after a business stumble can help.
Plan Your Next Step
While the experience is still fresh, start planning your next move. Writing a business plan, highlighting your vision, and defining your mission gives you a solid foundation for your next steps. You might look into financing your business with a loan, or bringing in partners. By taking actionable steps, you can recover faster and apply what you’ve learned to your new venture.
Find a Mentor
A business mentor can help you as you rebuild your business or start over from scratch. Maybe you jumped into entrepreneurship the first time before you were fully ready. Having support from an experienced business mentor gives you insight into smart business decisions, which can help you succeed. Surround yourself with supportive people, and find someone who can support you and steer you in the right direction. This person might be a friend with a successful business or a business coach.
Embrace Trial and Error
Many business owners believe that the only way to achieve success is through failure. Staying open to trial and error gives you the chance to take risks and potentially earn big rewards. If your company fails at something, you can chalk it up as something that doesn’t work and move on to the next possibility. Encourage your employees to keep sharing their innovative ideas with you. In fields such as software development, for example, trial and error is common way to achieve success. In less scientific or mathematical fields, failing may require you to do more research on a topic or consult with an expert or mentor to gain insight about ways to improve on a process or solve a problem.
Plan for Success
Having a solid plan for success can improve your odds. Making conservative financial projections, specifically on your income statement, can protect you from financial difficulties when you start over. Overestimating your expenses and underestimating your income is a way to be more cautious to increase your cash flow. Learn the basics of business accounting and business law. You don’t need to become an expert accountant or lawyer, but knowing the fundamentals in these two areas increases your chances of business survival since you have more knowledge and tools at your disposal if you fall into tough times.
Business failures don’t have to mean the end of your business. By learning from your situation and putting useful business tools into place, you can turn your business around or start a new venture that succeeds. 4.3 million customers use QuickBooks. Join them today to help your business thrive for free.