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8 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Failure

Updated on February 8, 2018

8 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Failure

Maira Omer

Feb 16, 2017

Success is like an unfaithful boyfriend; yours for the moment until someone new catwalks in to vision.

The only thing you can be certain with success is its infidelity. Now failure, is reliable and wise. Failure is the hitch to your Albert; the insightful guru teaching you ways to woo success.

People say, and agreeably so, success is an arduously slow process. No successful entrepreneur has ever made it big overnight or without sweating in to their efforts.

Many a billionaire with their tumultuous back-story had failed start ups. People who have come out effacing the ‘problem’ with an effective ‘solution’. The key is to keep pushing till you get it right. I know, I know it’s easier said than done but if you haven’t failed then you haven’t quite succeeded either, have you?

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling

As entrepreneurs, there is no definite path to follow. It is strictly a ‘to each his own’, ‘the road less traveled’, kind of journey where one steers by sheer instinct. Here are some lessons drawn from shared failures in the entrepreneurial world.


1. Friend-Zone Failure

Instead of treating failure like an infection in need of debridement, consider it as a wing-man. The statement ‘embrace your failures’ has been ping ponged in a number of circles on numerous occasions. Understand that you have only begun the hurdles and there may be plenty still in store.

Building from scratch requires a learning curve to be satisfied. Until you don’t learn which strategies are unsuitable to your product, brand, or service, it is unlikely you will recognize the direction to adopt for growth.

So, own your failures. Don’t allow them to define you, but accept them as part of the bigger picture. Failure adds a major weapon in your artillery which goes by the name experience.

Related: The Importance of Failure: 5 Valuable Lessons from Failing


2. Pull Out If You Are Survival Driven

Most entrepreneurs fail when they are driven by the need to be wealthy solely, and cursorily. Rapid acquisition of wealth is a pipe dream entrepreneurs delude themselves with. The purpose of entrepreneurship is to add value to a given product or service on the basis of a distinctive idea.

Now I am all in rooting for the brave tomato seller pushing his cart thinking he might acquire a vegetable stall by the end of the day.

But, let’s be realistic here.

You can’t sell all your tomatoes in 24hrs and you surely cannot erect an enterprise from a days worth of lugging. What you need to be is opportunity-driven. You need to go beyond a personal purpose, recognizing that the need for a repair man within a 12 mile maybe far greater and purchasing a toolbox. This implicates real research and vision.

As an entrepreneur, learn to give before you take.

Related: To Make It, You Have To Be Willing To Fall Flat On Your Face


3. Don’t Be a Know-It-All

By now you know you can’t make the business in to a solo performance. Granted, it is your brain child but it takes a village to raise it (or at least a helping hand). There is no such thing as an expert in your business.

It is yours. Period.

Seek mentors knowing ultimately every decision lays on you. With that said, recognize the need to hire intelligent, skilled employees. Arrogance will not sustain the buck. Having a third person voice opinions and brainstorm will only allow new ideas.

Don't be threatened by smarter people.

Related: Learning From Failure Is What Makes Entrepreneurs Better Leaders


4. Time Is Your Most Valuable Commodity

Your time should not be free of cost. Entrepreneurs fail to employ time with worth. Usually an entrepreneur will superfluously spend time (and money!) on either (a) Marketing or, (b) Strategizing. Flashy marketing does not always result in attracting the ideal customer base nor does endlessly scribbling on whiteboards without effect.

Save it. Use it. Price it. Utilize it.

Devote time to making relevant, concise decisions.

Related: Since You Can’t Manipulate Time, Try These 13 Time- Saving Tips


5. Your Business Is Not Unique, You Are

Bluntly put, this rings the most truth. There are few niches left in the world and it’s most likely your business is already in full throttle by others. Every product or service has replicas by the dozen. However, there is only one of you.

Not to sound like a mother blind with the belief her child is one of a kind but it so happens that your brain has no doppelgänger. No one thinks the way you do. They might have similar ideas but their plan of action will vary from yours.

If you truly believe your business can work, then revisit the mistakes you made and begin troubleshooting. Building a personal brand is as crucial as building the company brand. Experiencing failure will only strengthen your determination to better yourself each time.

Related: Lessons From Entrepreneurs on Risk, Failure, and Self- Confidence


6. Less Is More

A successful entrepreneur should think like a wife - frugal and industrious. You should be able to make more from smaller means. Spend where needed; save where necessary.

A helpful method to do so is by dividing your expenditure under two categories: Periodic expenses and capital expenses. The former are those which are recurring in nature, while the latter will constitute those necessary for start up.

Related: 7 Reasons Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail In Business


7. Be Bored

The journey towards success is non-linear. There comes a point where motivation seems to take leave and you lack the drive to continue. Most entrepreneurs will give up believing they might have misinterpreted their calling.

Boredom is inevitable and necessary. It does not signify a lack of passion or incompetence, simply that it’s time to shake things up.

Put down your smart-phones, switch off you Wi-Fi, and give in to boredom. Social media has a way to overwhelm you with infinite success stories without highlighting the lows.

Embrace the boredom, remind yourself why you began in the first place.

Related: Why Wildly Successful People Choose To Embrace Boredom


8. Focus To The Point Of Obsession

I am an impossibly distracted person, but when it comes to work, focus is paramount.

Focus on a segment, a demographic, a revenue model, anything. Be extremely precise in how you want to scale money. Being exorbitantly ambitious may result in scatterbrain decisions.

Do not create a cocktail out of your business; streamline ingredients to build a signature dish.

Related: Why Focus Is The Number One Element Of Business Success


© 2018 Maira Omer

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