How to Bounce Back from Failure

Often times in the world of entrepreneurship, you’ll hear the most seasoned businesspeople say something along the lines of “failure is the quickest pathway to success.” When you first hear it, you’ll probably shake your head and question everything they’ve told you. But if you really consider what failure can do for you, and ultimately your small business, you realize that the statement couldn’t be more true.

The last few weeks have certainly put everyone under additional stress. Some small businesses are able to adapt and keep going, others are trying to hang on, and others may fail. It’s unfortunate and not fair to all of you who work so very, very hard to start your own business, build it up, and then have things outside of your control impact your future from all sides.

Bouncing back from failure is not easy. Bouncing back is not immediate, and it certainly looks different for everyone.

Failure as feedback

Did your first business venture fail? What about a second? Are you afraid of failing now? First, you are NOT alone. In a normal, pre-COVID-19 world, there are many reasons that could be the culprit. Right now, much of that is well outside your control with stay at home orders and non-essential businesses being forced to close temporarily. If you’re like many people we’ve talked to, you’re probably feeling a little defeated, unsure, and scared.

These feelings are natural considering the circumstances. Perhaps you can use this time as an opportunity to encourage feedback from employees, customers, trusted mentors, and friends and family. Let the walls down and be vulnerable by asking those most closely involved in your business any ideas on how you can adapt, or what you could offer them now. Honest feedback and insight could assist you as you pivot and consider other or new ideas in business. If there’s a pattern in the advice you’re given, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it and use it as fuel to go after it again.

Failure as reflection

Now that you’ve received feedback from others, it’s time to turn inward. This crisis isn’t about asking yourself what you did wrong, but about asking yourself how you can be prepared in the future. Really try to figure out how you could change gears, take your business virtual if at all possible, or other ways you can continue to use what you know to earn money.

Take a few minutes to make a list of all of the things you’ve learned so far in your business, the connections you’ve made, and all of your successes. Also list mistakes you’ve made and the ways you could do things differently next time. It’s imperative that you use this time, not as a way to criticize or take pity on yourself, but to take everything from the experience and use it to push you toward change.

Failure as a fresh start

Whether this COVID-19 crisis or something else caused your current situation or a business failure, use this as an opportunity to move to a successful one.

We understand you’re hurting and you’re disappointed, even a little unsure of yourself. It’s okay to acknowledge these feelings, because often failure provides a fresh start and clear eyes, allowing you to see things differently than before. Failure lets you reassess your strategy, your strengths and weaknesses, your business partners, and everything in between. This situation you’re in, and there are many small business owners in it with you, may push you toward a better or more successful product, service, or business idea. Whatever the future may look like for you, you can guarantee that the lessons learned are guiding you on an even better entrepreneurial journey.

It’s a long, winding path to success

The path to small business success is a windy, twisted road. As an entrepreneur, you must have a willingness for the new, the unique, the different, and the challenges. While you can’t always be prepared for drastic changes, you should always be willing to adapt to whatever challenges are thrown your way.

Ask the questions. Research what other opportunities are out there in the short-term to help get you through. Tune into yourself and channel the grit that caused you to start your business in the first place.

You’re never alone

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working nonstop with national organizations and our clients to help them get the guidance, assistance, and loans they need. We’re here to help you along the way. If you haven’t worked with us before, reach out to us. We’re here to provide everyone hoping to start, save, or grow their business with resources, mentorship, loans, connections, and help in any way we can. GROW is here to meet you wherever you are in this journey.