Embracing Failure: How Large Failures Can Lead to Great Successes in Business

Embracing Failure
Newsweek Magazine
Successful people know that failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. It gives you more data that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.

Did you botch a product launch? Or maybe you’ve stumbled on your sales presentation and missed out on a big deal. Or you made the wrong business decision or investment that cost you a lot of money. In all of sports history, including the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL (except an MLB pitcher or bowler 300 games), there’s never been a perfect game though there have been many failures.

In business and sports, failure is part of the game. In fact, some may even call it the price of admission. Truly successful entrepreneurs view failure as a stepping stone — feedback to pinpoint areas of improvement. While failure may feel like a death sentence at the moment, rest assured, if you can see past the immediate pain, it can be a potential turning point in your business.

If you need a bit of inspiration, this article can shed light on how my company went from being in huge debt to a multi-million-dollar valuation and why embracing failure is a critical mindset to have in business.

My entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the power of resilience and determination. When faced with a significant failure in my business — being rejected by five banks for loans to keep it afloat — I refused to let setbacks define me. Instead, I chose to embrace the challenge with unwavering perseverance. Through sheer grit, a strong belief in God, and a tireless work ethic, I pushed forward and eventually turned my struggling business into a success story.

Despite the initial rejections, I would find alternative ways to get things done and in this case, help finance my business. I negotiated extended terms with vendors, secured payment deferrals from the bank, managed to temporarily negotiate on an interim base my and my team’s compensation, and refinanced multiple existing bank loans in one with a lower payment. These strategic maneuvers gradually steered the business away from its debt condition.

My dedication, unwavering spirit, and negotiations led me to overcome financial obstacles and transform my business into a success story.

By shifting your perspective and embracing failure as a valuable learning experience, you can unlock new opportunities and reach unprecedented heights. Here are some key insights to consider:

• The Power of Resilience: Failure exposes business owners to challenges and unexpected obstacles. But those who are resilient and resourceful can overcome those setbacks. Think of all the resilient businesses that overcame the pandemic. Many successful companies operated remotely through Zoom. Also, many restaurants offered contactless payment and curbside pickup and delivery. They didn’t let the circumstance of the pandemic shut down their business.

• Learning from Mistakes: Failure in business often shines a light on our shortcomings or mistakes in business. You may need to look inward if you made bad hires that cost you thousands of dollars. That means putting better systems in place to vet applicants and provide better benefits to attract top talent. No matter the failure, a lesson can always be learned.

• Embracing Innovation and Creativity: When our business couldn’t access funding to keep our company afloat, we had to turn to alternatives for financing. Many companies were on the brink of failure but ultimately overcame adversity. For instance, Apple fired Steve Jobs only to rehire him years later. When Apple faced financial struggles, Steve Jobs simplified their product line and cut unprofitable projects. Under his leadership, they introduced a series of product innovations like the iPod and iTunes store. Successful entrepreneurs don’t give up after failure. Instead, they think outside the box and explore new approaches to accomplish a goal.

• Building a Strong Network: Surrounding yourself with a strong network of mentors, advisors, and like-minded individuals can provide support and guidance during challenging times. Through their experiences and insights, you can gain valuable knowledge that can help you navigate future endeavors more effectively.

• Reshaping Goals and Strategies: Failure often prompts entrepreneurs to reevaluate their goals and strategies. It allows them to reflect on their initial approach and identify areas for improvement. By embracing failure, you can become more adaptable and open to change, enabling you to pivot, refine your strategies, and achieve tremendous success.

There’s a good chance that every entrepreneur you look up to has experienced many failures before bouncing back to outstanding achievements.

Many entrepreneurs let the “fear of failing” stop their decision-making to pursue groundbreaking ideas. No decision is worse than making the wrong choice. Stagnation and inaction can lead to you falling behind more proactive and agile competitors.

While wrong decisions aren’t ideal, businesses can quickly gather information and adjust their strategies. No decision means you miss out on the feedback loop that drives improvement.

f there’s one thing to take away, remember that failure is simply feedback. Successful people know that failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. It gives you more data that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.

Remember, your biggest failures can lead to your most significant opportunities.

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