Launching a startup is always an exciting time for entrepreneurs. After several years languishing in the concrete jungle and accounting for the success and welfare of someone else, you have finally taken control of your own destiny by owning your own business.
But running a startup is a daunting task. Statistically, more than 50% of startups are no longer operational after four years. Twenty-five percent close business after the first year. These figures prove that starting a business is one thing; sustaining it is another.
When you were a 9-to-5 employee, your risks are limited only to your scope of work. And regardless of your level of productivity, you will be paid a salary every 15th and 30th of the month. As an entrepreneur, you bear all the risks of managing your business. And you are not guaranteed compensation. Ray Kroc who built the McDonald’s franchise claimed he did not pay himself a salary for eight years.
Uncertainty and the pressures to succeed can become unbearable to some entrepreneurs and weighs down on their ability to cope with failure. The key to overcoming failure starts with accepting the reality that failure is part of the journey. If you cannot accept the reality of failure, you will never to be prepared when it happens.
And trust me, it will happen. Not once, twice or three times. There are no limits to the frequency you will experience failure. Need proof?
- J.K. Rowling was a single mother, living on welfare and working her trade as a writer in coffee shops and diners. Her works were rejected by 12 publishers before finally she finally sold a book for $4,000.
- Howard Schultz was rejected by 217 investors before he finally secured a bank loan to fund his coffee franchise.
- Roy Disney was once told he “lacked imagination” and was rejected by several banks to fund his businesses that he eventually had to file for bankruptcy.
These people went through difficult times pushing their business ideas to market. But because of their determination, commitment and resiliency the world has Harry Potter, Starbucks Coffee and the “Happiest Place on Earth”.
Ask yourself these questions:
- “How much do you want to succeed?”
- “What are you prepared to do to succeed?”
- “Why do you deserve success?”
- “What will you do when you find success?”
If there is a Golden Rule to startup success, it should be this:
Failure is your greatest teacher.
Let me ask you; what can someone’s success teach you? If you go to any of these seminars that teach or promote their so-called “Secrets to Success” what do you believe will you hear?
Stories of failure; and the ability to rise above it.
Here’s the truth: there are no secrets to success. If someone comes to you and tells you he has a proven formula or computer program that will guarantee your startup will succeed 100%, run away as fast as you can! He is lying and is out to scam you of your hard-earned money.
If you want to be successful, you must experience failure because it teaches you how to succeed.
Failure shows you were you made your mistakes.
When you lose out in a bid process, check your documents. Did you price yourself out of the market? If a bank refuses to grant you a loan, review your projected stream of revenues and bank statements and assess if these were sufficient to the amount you were trying to borrow.
Failure shows you how you made those mistakes.
Did you decide to work on your company’s projections instead of hiring an accountant despite your lack of knowledge and experience in preparing financial statements? Were you too lenient on your staff and indifferent toward giving them additional training?
Failure shows you the solutions.
In the next bid process, you will hire and work with an accountant to prepare the bid and loan documents. You will invest in training and personal development programs for the advancement and well-being of your staff.
Despite the hardships, pain and trauma you go through when you experience failure, once all the smoke has cleared, you will begin to see the opportunities that abound.
Never fear failure; instead, run to it and embrace it.