Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common, they all made mistakes with startups and they all learned valuable lessons to help them succeed.
In any endeavor, the fear of failure and self-doubt can be the biggest obstacle to success.
Fear is one thing you must learn how to overcome if you’re going to take a life-changing risk like starting your own business.
Most people read the stories of heroes who won against all odds to overcome fear and self-doubt. Stories of bold entrepreneurs who, in the face of failure, kept standing and, as a result, reached incredible success. In other words, making mistakes and tasting failure can be an advantage to entrepreneurs.
Any successful entrepreneur will tell you about how success is a mixture of both failure and success. That’s why, as an entrepreneur, it’s best to develop a culture and business plan that accommodates mistakes.
You should see mistakes as a learning experience to fuel faster growth and refine your strategies. The stories of great men like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and several others stand as proof of this fact.
So, how can mistakes become an advantage to an entrepreneur and any startup company?
They are the Best Business Training Program
Your employees will learn more when you create an environment that’s welcoming towards mistakes. When you find areas where making a couple of errors won’t be dangerous and then open up these areas to experimentation, your employees will learn better.
It can be challenging to find this kind of balance. But if you want your employees to get out of their comfort zone and develop their skills, you have to find the balance.
Mistakes are the Bedrock for New Ideas
History has it that the Inkjet printers’ idea resulted from a mistake-when a Canon engineer forgot his hot iron on the top of a pen. The hot iron melted the pen and the ink ejected from its cartridge. The mess made from the ink gave the idea that formed the Injek printer’s basis as we know it today.
Though mistakes like that are rare, most mistakes form the basis of other inventions. That’s why it’s important to give room for controlled mistakes if you want innovations in your startup business. Trial and error can lead, after a little time, to something that works.
A sure way to get your employees out of the comfort zone
Taking risks can lead to more remarkable results. The chances are that you are not going anywhere fast if you are not stretching yourself.
Mistakes reveal the fault in your strategies, and working to block loopholes in your plan is one way to stretch yourself. As you do, you indirectly power your company for growth. But note that, most employees will not dare to take risks if your business environment doesn’t feel safe to take such risks. Therefore, it falls back to creating an environment where your employees can safely explore.
However, the fear of losing your baby business can make you want to put up with a more careful process-the kind that gives the illusion of steady progress. However, the truth is that if you’ve always recorded success and you never experienced failure, the chances are that you’ve not been taking risks.
Check out this article about how to learn more about how mistakes can be an advantage to startup writing businesses.
So, what are the clear-cut reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid of failure as a startup company?
Research any innovative business leader, and you’ll find that these people didn’t get overwhelmed by adversity. For example, Henry Ford-the father of the moving assembly line and the legendary carmaker-failed in three of his first business attempts.
Walt Disney is also not an exception. He failed severally and almost went bankrupt even after he had successfully begun making films.
It is the tricky things such as effective management of technical advances, a shift in market demands, intense competition, etc., that make a successful company. Therefore, it is almost impossible to plan a perfect company. You can choose to see failure as an opportunity to adapt and re-strategize or see it as a dare to stop pushing.
The truth behind the saying that “To err is human” is infallible. Even the modern business world cannot boast of perfection with the numerous data analytic tools, internet marketing techniques, and several business employees with specialized degrees.
You have to realize that you can’t merely command success. It’ll help you be more emphatic with yourself, your customers, and staff when you do. Know that disappointment and imperfections are part of life, and it will help you reduce the number of conflicts you engage while you channel your energy towards improved planning.
Your expectation should be that your employee will work with dedication, integrity, and attention to detail. However, asking them to perform miracles or do without making mistakes is an unrealistic expectation and will only create a tense working environment.
Your company will evolve despite the occasional failures it experiences if you’ll develop a culture that’s flexible and innovative. It will help improve your methods and minimize damage from failure.
As a startup business, look at every innovation from the perspective of risk management. In other words, evaluate the consequences of failure in terms of the opportunity you have for profit. Also, learn to document your processes and plan.
When you encounter failure, you’ll be able to review what happened and learn how you can avoid similar mistakes next time. You’re only guaranteed to fail when you stop trying. When you eventually succeed and grow your business as you should, you can even take pride and smile regardless of the failures you’ve encountered.
Setbacks are often a function of factors out of everyone’s control, e.g., natural disasters, accidents, software glitches, and several other examples. Such failure shouldn’t bring you shame. Circumstances beyond you can ruin even a carefully planned process.
When you experience failure based on such a situation, they should not bring you to shame. It isn’t right to blame or even punish anyone for mistakes they could not have anticipated.
As a startup business owner, you can’t afford to destroy relationships merely because a mistake occurred. You don’t have the luxury of slowing productivity either. Therefore, you’ll have to learn how to set mistakes right and move on.
The best solution is to take your lessons as they present themselves and get right back to work. Mistakes can lead to bad feelings, and many have given up because of it. Still, if you accept responsibility and apologize, it will open fresh doors of opportunity to you.
Top Five Mistakes Startups Make
We can group mistakes into two major categories, namely, inevitable and evitable mistakes. Inevitable mistakes are the type discussed above-the kind that happens regardless of how perfect you think you’ve planned. Examples of such include natural disasters, accidents, software glitches, etc.
Evitable mistakes, on the other hand, are those you can and should guard against. They are simple mistakes that careful preparation can prevent. While inevitable mistakes can be advantageous to the business, evitable mistakes usually will not have the same effect.
Inevitable mistakes may not be fatal to the business, but a compendium of inevitable mistakes is inevitably a way to kill your baby business. The summary of it all is that you have to guard against avoidable errors at all costs.
But, what are some of these inevitable mistakes?
1. Failure to plan
Creating a business plan is inevitable if you want your business to survive and grow. Though the business plan changes as the business grows, it is essential to plan from the start. What are your plans for vital areas such as funding, risk management, expenses tracking, etc.? A carefully designed plan in these areas translates to business growth in the long run.
2. Failing to Set Goals
Goals are as crucial to the business as the idea behind the company itself. They are the fuel that powers the business. One of the mistakes most startups make is that they don’t set specific and clear goals from the company’s early stage. Most startup owners find it difficult to tell how fast the business will grow or how well the business will perform.
However, it’s essential to make sure you have goals. Your goals must be SMART, in that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-bound. You’ll probably beat and surpass your goals eventually, but that’s a growth you might not record if you have no goals.
3. Failing to Ask for Help
Most successful businesses are a product of teamwork. The idea most startup owners have is that they have to do it all alone to succeed. However, that’s a fallacy that you should cast out of your mind. Business ventures can be complicated and overwhelming-you need all the help you can get.
4. Failing to make use of technology
Catching up with the rapid advancement of technology is a necessity for a startup. Most of your customers are online, so you need to go where they are. A lot of startups fail because of this reason. It would help if you also found tools that speak your business language and leverage them for better operations.
5. Failing to Market
What’s your marketing plan? You need it to survive in a competitive market. Most startup business owners believe that their product will speak for itself. However, no matter the quality of your business product, it is only as good as the number of people who can attest to it. Market and marketing strategies help you build a customer base that is loyal to your company.
What other mistakes do startup business owners make? Check out this article to find out more.
In summary, mistakes are good for your business. Learn to embrace them and let your business grow through them. However, as discussed above, choose your battles wisely. Choose only battles that will make your business grow, and avoid like a plague any issue that will not culminate to your business advantage by careful preparation and planning.
About the Author: Timothy Miller
Originally published at https://www.pixelproductionsinc.com on March 22, 2021.