The High 5 of Failure

By Steven Venable

This is my take away from failure and what I learned along the way. There are a lot of things you can learn from failure, like what not to do again. Just kidding. You may want to not fail again but the truth is, unless you’re a business savant, it will happen again and again. This shouldn’t be a discouragement to those who are entrepreneurs or those who want to take the plunge. Here are my top 5 lessons learned:

#1 - Take OWNERSHIP of Your Decisions

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “I started a business… that’s ownership, right?” It is, but there are so many facets of your business that you’ve yet to discover. The one thing you need to do in all of your decisions, is take ownership and stick to your overall plan. I took a planned vision, but allowed everyone to dictate the shape of my business and how I needed to do business instead of pushing forward with my ideas. I let others slowly change my overall goal, leaving me in a cloud of failure.

#2 - Don’t be an Army of One, Not Even if You're MacGruber

Trying to grow your idea into a functioning business by yourself can be done, but it is rarely done alone. After all, is that really why you’re going into business, so you can do all the work? I admit that is how I did it. Now I’m writing this article, wishing I could turn back the clock and do the right thing. That thing is to bring in the right people to help the business flourish. Going at it alone will do several things: It will lengthen the amount of time it takes for you to get off the ground; It will hurt your creatively, as your focus will be pulled into many directions; You will eventually, if you’re like me, get goal diffusion from having too much to do. In addition, by having others to help, you will have a core group to bounce ideas off of, and the support other people who see your vision as clearly as it is in you do.

#3 - Research is Your Frenemy

For those of you who don’t know what frenemy is, it is a friend/enemy. I once put together a 104 page business plan and took 2  1/2; years to ensure the perfect business model. What happened? While I was busy drafting up the perfect business model and connecting the dots, someone else implemented my idea before I could. I lost out on an opportunity that could’ve changed my life. Don’t spend all your time perfecting your idea. Sometimes, you just need to jump into the deep end and doggy paddle your way to success.

#4 - Invest in Your Idea

I am king of bad choices when it comes to investing. As a result, I take a very cautious stance when I invest in my own ideas. Don’t get gun shy and scared when it comes time to pay for your business. There are things like advertising, marketing, etc. that your business needs. You can have the greatest idea in the world and if only a few people you love know about it, it may never reach its potential. It must be marketed.

#5 - Learn to Fail With Grace

So Cunth cut your mullet off? Guess what... You’re not alone, he's cut plenty of mullets. The important thing to remember is you tried and it's just hair, hopefully, learned something that will help you become more successful in the future. I have become really good at falling, but I have become really good at getting back up. Fail, and fail again, but get back up and do it again, gleaning from what you’ve learned.

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I have experienced setbacks, failures, disappointments and other travesties, but I got back into the game. The things I have learned along the way have helped to shape my understanding of what a big business is and appreciate the small business owner’s constant struggle. I will never stop exploring and starting businesses. Eventually, one will click. In the meantime, I take the lessons learned and get better each time. Use whatever blocks you have to build your business. God bless every business owner and entrepreneur. This article is written because I have started and failed with several businesses. My experiences have left me with the preceded wisdom. Should you have any feedback or questions, please do not hesitate to email or respond in the comment section.

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