I can vividly remember my first boss Marc Leder talking me about how in business, failure is one of the best things that can happen, a statement which completely confused me. At that time I was just about to launch my own business and he had helped mentor me. I asked Marc what he meant by this and when he explained it all became clear. Little did I or Marc know back then, failure would happen to me, and it did in fact turn out to be one of the best things that has happened to me in business. If this is as confusing to you as it was when Marc told me all those years ago, here is why it is so important.
Test of Character
The first thing to mention here is that when I say failure I am not just talking about the failure of a business, although that can often happen. This is also about missing opportunities, making mistakes, failing to hire someone who goes on to do well or a failure to do something which causes trouble. The biggest reason why failure is critical in business is because it will test what you are made of. Simply put if you fall off the horse and decide that it was he horse’s fault and you won’t be riding again, you were never really made for the world of business, if however you jump right back on the horse, you have shown the tenacity and resilience which is required to succeed.
If you ask any successful business person if they have ever failed, I imagine that around 95% of them will be able to tell you exactly when and how this happened. What they will also tell you is that the lessons they learned from it have since helped them throughout the rest of their business life, and this is the key. When you learn to ride a bike you fall, when you learn maths you get things wrong and when you are learning about business, you are bound to fail and it is at this point that you will learn so much. The lessons you learn from a failure in business will prevent the same thing happening again and making you a better person for it.
This may not be the same for everyone but something which my failures have given me in the past have been a cold, hard dose of reality. Just after starting my first online business everything was going well and my confidence was so high that I felt that I was the next Bill Gates. A series of events which I didn’t see coming completely ruined that business and I went from the next Bill Gates to the next guy trying to avoid bankruptcy. That was just the reality check that I needed and it served me so well for the rest of my career.
Don’t look for failure of course, but when it comes your way understand how to turn it into a positive.