Entrepreneurs and start-up small business owners are some of the most courageous people I can think of. They put their money, pride, time, and passion into an idea that ultimately has two outcomes—Success or Failure. When inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison looked at all his failures as lessons on doing something wrong which lead to his success.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, couldn’t agree more. His article, “Richard Branson on the Secret to Success: Failure.” explains the importance of failure to achieve success. He shares three attributes that can make a difference to an entrepreneur. Here is what I picked up from them:
1. Keep it simple.
Branson states, “The best and most successful ideas are those that improve people’s lives.” I couldn’t agree more. Innovation doesn’t come from sitting in the office trying to think about what is the next big idea. Experiencing life and the problems that come along with it is the best way to come up with a solution that resonates with people.
You don’t necessarily have to innovate either. You product could be an improvement to a current product in a certain market. This reminds me of Apple’s goal to make everything as simple as possible. If you had two products and both accomplished the same thing, a consumer would choose the product that was the simplest to use.
2. If at first your don’t succeed…
I hate to say this; but the odds are your first business isn’t going to work out. Branson tells us it’s not whether you succeed or fail; it’s how you deal with it. Instead of giving up, you need to realize, “…some of [your] best ideas arise from the ashes of a shuttered business.”
Even if you are one of the lucky few that taste success with your first business, it doesn’t mean you won’t or haven’t experienced failure. Branson points out, “In the United States, most investors will look at an entrepreneur’s past failures before making a decision, not because they are worried about it, but because they want to see [if] that person can withstand the occasional knock.” Essentially, can you fall off the horse and get back up?
3. Are you having fun yet?
Being an Entrepreneur, you are your own boss. Honestly, why you would start a business unless you believed in it and were passionate about it? Branson explains, “When you can’t wait to get to work in the morning and you are generally having a good time, there is a far greater chance that you’ll create a positive, innovative atmosphere and your business will flourish.” Since you are the boss, enjoy yourself! However, that doesn’t mean you can slack off.
Look back at your life. Everything you have ever learned is because you had a question—whether the question consciously stuck in your mind or not. You learned the answer to that question by asking someone or by a personal experience (good or bad). Entrepreneurs and start-up business owners are some of the most courageous people I know because they wanted to answer the question: “Could I run a successful business?” This question can only be answered if you try. And, according to Albert Einstein, “You never fail until you stop trying.”
What is one failure that contributed to your future success?
Mike Alder is a University of Utah business marketing student and marketing specialist at Lendio. Passionate about entrepreneurship, small businesses, and inbound marketing. Mike shows his passion by sharing stories of successful entrepreneurs and companies with small business owners on the Lendio blog. He makes these big success stories easy-to-apply in simple and easy to read language for the everyday small business owner and entrepreneur.
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