Story Warning: Graphic language in video linked.
When an old adage was no longer able to say it as it did: “It takes courage to fail,” it’s always worth a refresher. Failure, after all, is a key part of any entrepreneur’s journey. It’s been said the flame of life will often rise from ashes, and now, just in time, a new era of entrepreneurship has emerged.
According to a recent study from the Kauffman Foundation (the world’s largest supporter of small business), entrepreneurship has skyrocketed over the past few decades. In 1979, there were approximately 9 million entrepreneurs. In 2014, that number is over 42 million.
Entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this. The term “corporate (think Google, Facebook, etc.) entrepreneurship” has also expanded, from just tech companies to national or international businesses.
As startups continue to grow, it’s important to ensure that owners understand three things. First, understanding failure is important if you want to grow a successful business. We’ll get to that later, but understanding a specific type of startup can significantly impact a business’s ability to become successful.
So here are a few ways to improve your chances of survival if your business decides to grow.
1. Become an Inventor
Entrepreneurs often see innovative solutions to issues facing society. The side effect of creating new ideas, however, is knowing when to stop. For small businesses, the problem is figuring out what to stop now.
Early on, most entrepreneurs will always want to continue experimenting to improve their business. But considering all the options available and all the possible results, there’s no reason not to bring in an expert to take a look at a problem you have.
If you know the answer to your unique problem, then this is the best time to let someone else find the solution. It’s an investment to get help from a professional, but one well worth it. And it’s an investment in furthering your business. So if you need more proof of your ideas’ potential, bring in the experts and let them help you succeed.
2. Say No
At some point during an entrepreneur’s journey, it’s probably best to say “no” to offers that don’t meet his or her expectations or only make sense to someone else. When you do, it’s important to understand why you’re stopping the offer at this particular point.
Before ending the offer, you should also clarify any red flags in the offer or reasoning behind the offer. If there’s a problem with the offer or opportunity, then don’t start something else. Instead, let it find a perfect match elsewhere.
Once you have accomplished this goal, you’re ready to move on. Finally, you’ll know when to say “yes” to more requests.
3. Consolidate products and services
Business isn’t something one does as an act of charity. Whether starting a new business or focusing on an existing one, the owner must be committed to the success of his or her business.
According to the Kauffman Foundation study, entrepreneurs must be selective in the products and services they provide. Sure, it might be fun to continue offering a limited-time offering with special discounts. But businesses must also be selective in what they do and how they deliver the services.
Let your customers know, “This is our limited time offer, but if you like it, we’ll keep it for you for another day.” You’ll be working to expand your customer base rather than keeping the services in limited supply.
Failures are inevitable in the world of entrepreneurship. And while not all entrepreneurs will make it to their first birthday, most will be able to manage this with courage and self-awareness.