How failing can lead to bigger and better things

What do Apple, FedEx, Airbnb, Evernote and Uber have in common?

They’re massive companies who have at one point experienced failure. Did they give up? Of course not! They went on to build mega-successful companies.

As humans running businesses, we secretly love stories of people who have failed before flying. It gives us hope that we can all get through the rough times in business. And there are some great stories.

Take Amy Porterfield for example. She once ran a webinar that NO ONE showed up to. You could hear the crickets…Now one of her big money makers is training people how to run super successful webinars.

Another of my favourite business contacts, Suz Chadwick, has told me about ‘things’ she put out to market that went belly up. Rather than freaking out, she simply took them down.

Business is all about attitude. You can take failure in two ways. You can give up, or you can tackle it head on and smash it out of the park.

The top 4 things small business can learn from failure

Refining your services

why small businesses fail

Hands up if you’re running your business in the same way you did when you started. I bet you’re not raising your hand. You see, the service you offer today is probably a more refined, better service (or product) then when you first started. As you grow, you refine your processes. For example, a sales email you’ve been sending for years may have been so hit and miss that it failed more often than it made sales. So, you look at your words, and you refine your email. Even the smallest failures can also lead to the biggest successes.

Listen to your clients

why small businesses fail

We all love getting glowing testimonials from our clients and customers. Praise – give me praise – love me! But it’s often the bad testimonials that we need to grow. Think about this for a minute. Have you ever had a fussy client who’s passive aggressive or nasty email has made you want to throw rocks at your computer screen? They’re upset with the result, but you believe it’s because the brief they gave you was crappy. With all failure, you can look at this in 2 ways. You can hide away and ignore them. Or, you can perhaps review your briefing process, phone the client to talk through their ideas, redo the work and take it as a ‘how to deal with difficult clients’ lesson.

Don’t be scared to drop what doesn’t work

why small businesses fail

Have you ever come up with a new product or service and been super excited about it? Perhaps it’s a niche service, a webinar, a course, an eBook…You’re sure your audience is going to love it, so you excitedly release it. But it flops. You need to be game enough to think, ‘Ok, maybe that doesn’t work as my audience doesn’t want it’ and move onto your next idea.

If your investment fails, don’t get turned off

why small businesses fail

I recently dropped a large sum of money on a well-known course. I’d heard nothing, but great things about the course and I was sold on the promise it would solve an issue I had at the time. I signed up, paid up and was disappointed. It didn’t do what I had hoped it would do. But I don’t blame the course. I went on the opinions of others and the clever marketing. I could have been turned off doing more personal development, but I wasn’t. I looked at it as a failed investment and learnt to do my OWN research next time.

There are loads of little business fails we can all learn from

Failure doesn’t have to be huge to make a business owner take notice and make changes. Sure, massive failure can lead to a business closing their doors for good, but it’s the little failures that make our businesses grow bigger and better.

These can be running an event with no one showing up, creating a fancy website that no one is finding or looking at, writing a book that no one read, right through to creating a newsletter that no one opens.

Once you’ve found out what didn’t work and overcome these ‘failures’, share them with the world. We all love learning the shortcuts – what did you do wrong that I can avoid doing?

The moral of my story?

You aren’t a bad business owner because you’ve failed at something in your business. It’s how you deal with the failure that will define you as a business owner. Are you learning, adjusting, and growing?

If you’re sitting in a corner crying, perhaps owning a business isn’t for you?

If you’ve found this article useful, I’d love for you to share it with your networks or anyone who may be having a hard time in their business. I’m always available for a chat about your business and to see if there’s any way I can help you change a failure into a success.