Mistakes are Opportunities to Learn

24 June 2019
Shirley Mansfield
Building a Business

We can learn more from failure than success.

According to Richard Branson, “One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.” If we are all spending time making mistakes, it makes sense to learn from them.

Failure is a critical part of building a successful business, and how you handle failure is a big indication of your true potential.

Failures can teach you a lot about yourself, your impact on other people, and how your personal goals and expectations align with those of your firm. For example, losing a key customer may be painful, but it probably means you were not giving them the service that they wanted or you were not providing the right solution for their particular needs. You can view this as a loss or you can use it as an opportunity to better align your product or service offering with the needs of your customers.

If your product or service isn’t selling maybe it’s because you had a great idea that worked for you but not for your customers. Did you conduct thorough market research the first time around? Next time, make sure your customers want it, they’re willing to pay for it, and the value they place on it is enough to make your business grow.

If your business is failing to meet its financial targets, perhaps there is something you can learn about your credit control. Perhaps you could take a fresh look at how you approve credit, how you monitor customers credit rating, how you chase your debts (should there be further steps, can you automate the process) or provide your customers with an easier payment method.

If you are personally responsible for a particular failure, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, be willing to let it go. Accept that a particular project or strategy didn’t work out and be willing to start again.

Don’t be afraid to bring in some expert help. You can’t be an expert at everything – so it’s OK to bring in a team of people to help you get it right next time. That said, don’t just delegate the problem, be willing to get involved in order to get things right the next time around.

Remember – your greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time!

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