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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

How Successful Entrepreneurs Handle Failure

Sep 5, 2017

The perception of a venture's failure as an end to one's career is certainly an outdated one, a fact bearing testimony to such being that no entrepreneur of repute today has managed to satisfactorily avoid the grasp of failure through the course of their career, and most succeed in emerging over the phase of depression it can bring about through one, very simple realisation - it doesn't define you.

Failure is, if anything, an invaluable learning process that's almost guaranteed to grace the path of a successful entrepreneur at one point or the other given the lack of financial security provided by sectors most today are vying to establish themselves within. An entrepreneur who is conscious of the above and perceives the struggle to emerge over a failure as an inevitable one is better placed than most to plan forthcoming successes, as such a realisation, for one, allows one to not blame themselves for their venture's demise.

Treading for great periods of time over one's failure and treating it as a shortcoming in their overall character, or perhaps an evident sign of some weakness as an entrepreneur, can only hamper the process of returning toward normality, nor does it provide any sort of optimistic teaching or learning experience. Self-deprecation is, as many fabled leaders can attest to, an endless cycle that harbours the potential to completely obliterate even the forthcoming events in one's career, and an unarguably better alternative is, instead, reflection.

A teaching evident from the ways reputed entrepreneurs emerge from failures is that, although not treading upon failure is perhaps the best path to take, buckling down and reflecting upon it, to extract even the menial ounces of knowledge it might contain for averting from such mistakes in the future, too is of great importance. Figuring out what went wrong with a seemingly smooth sailing venture, or why a constantly declining one couldn't be rescued despite obvious signs of nearing rock bottom can only be achieved by ample introspection upon the particular entrepreneur's actions, though this is, of course, made tough by the myriad of negative emotions one might attach to their past venture, thus requiring even greater mental strength to focus on the positive aspects. Moving on, thus, simple as it may sound, is the hardest task an entrepreneur has to perform in the aftermath of the failure of something they poured months, perhaps even years, of effort into.

Of course, one can't help but think about the negative facets of the past if the only thing their surrounding environment enables them to do is the same, and considering how the failure of their venture pits them against unemployment and perhaps even a shortage of monetary resources for the near future, entrepreneurs would be well-advised to seek pastures away from home and even employ the skills in their arsenals to secure a stream of income. Advisory roles at firms for those with the necessary experience are aplenty today, and an entrepreneur who sufficiently understands the factors that brought about the demise of their own venture can find another platform to benefit from their introspection at such a juncture. Taking up such roles also enables entrepreneurs to efficiently fill the void that might exist while they, if their process of recovery is going right, seek to establish new ventures, bringing us to another point, that entrepreneurs MUST move on from their failures, be it jumping on-board with another firm or an infant venture which they helm themselves, an immediate fresh start squanders the possibility of any entrepreneur treating their failure as a final nail in the coffin, a decision many young entrepreneurs can often arrive at due lacking motivation or encouragement, both of which require not only cognizance of the above stated points, but a good support system.

A bulk of the recovery process concerns itself with banishing the remnants of any sort of negativity that might exist around a professional finding a way to return to their own feet, and such a task can only be accomplished in the presence of loved ones or, at least, those who believe in an entrepreneur's vision. Leaders of the past have urged vying professionals at a multitude of occasions to not perceive the need for affection or the like from family and friends as a sign of weakness, but part of human nature and an irreplaceable facet of finding one's path again after witnessing the downfall of their venture.

Now more than ever, with the "start-up" becoming the primary objective of many vying entrepreneur's careers, failed ventures are to become a commonplace occurrence in even the most diverse industries. As such, teachings from corporate behemoths from the past such as those listed above and found at every bookshelf in the world are to don even greater value than they ever have, and educating future entrepreneurs upon them and terms such as perseverance can save us a generation of unmotivated leaders.

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