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Whether you are a startup or an established business owner, fears are completely natural.  Out of all of the fears we face as business owners and entrepreneurs, fear of failure should not be one of them.

My favorite quote is “There is no failure only feedback”.  No other statement has ever been more true. Think of failure as “failing forward”.  When we change our perspective of the word failure and can become a very powerful tool in our toolbox to succeed in business.  It’s powerful for these 3 reasons:

  1. It makes us look at the situation from another angle.

When a failure occurs, it’s extremely important to drill down to what I call the five layers of why.  My first job after the military was a systems engineer for the environmental control systems division of a major corporation.  FYI – environmental control systems is just a really fancy term for Air Conditioners and Central Heating on aircrafts. If a test a failed, we applied six sigma principles (six sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects) to drill down to the root cause of the failure.  You don’t need to be six sigma qualified to understand failure, but I learned that by asking yourself why until you can’t come up with additional reasons as to why a failure occurred will lead you to the root cause of the issue.

  1. It makes us consider alternative solutions

After discovering the “why” of the failure the action of considering alternative solutions is how we proactively move forward.  Recognizing the “why” something failed and planning on how to avoid failing that way in the future, is critical to how successful your business endeavors will be.  Alternative solutions also uncover what the market really desires. Whether or not you are a service based, product based or nonprofit entity, it’s extremely important to consider how to move forward from a particular failure and use it to identify what problem the market is experiencing and what type of solution you have that will solve it in a meaningful way.

  1. It helps us redefine the end goal.

Failure is also key to redefining what our true goals are for the business.  It helps us further define what our mission is in undertaking a business. Is it to enrich people’s lives?  Is it to provide a simpler, smarter, faster solution to an age old problem? These are questions we should be asking ourselves in addition to the lifestyle we would like the business to afford.

Conclusion:

Embrace failure.  It only makes you and your business stronger because it forces you to really understand your markets’ needs, how you can serve your market better, and define what is your ultimate goal is in serving others.

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