5 Ways for Startup Entrepreneurs to Learn From Failure




  • January 30, 2016

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    As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” When it comes to startups, entrepreneurs will more than likely encounter a few failures or setbacks on the road to success, but it’s not about how many you come across, but rather what you learn from each. Here are 5 ways startup entrepreneurs can learn from their failures:


    Look back at the planning process.


    Anytime a startup experiences a failure, it’s time to go back to square one and analyze the planning process. Look at whether you, as the owner of the startup, spent enough time during planning to think all aspects through. The main question you want to ask yourself is “could this failure have been prevented if more was done during the planning process?” Use this to shape how you strategize for new business ventures in the future.


    Learn to delegate.


    Entrepreneurs have a habit of taking on too much, even in areas that are not their strongest. When this happens, it’s easy to make mistakes or bad decisions that lead to failures, since you’re in unfamiliar territory and spreading yourself too thin. When faced with a failure, look back and ask yourself whether you made the right decision to take on this task yourself, or if you should have delegated it to an expert. There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know how to do something or don’t have time to do it properly, especially when it means deciding between success or failure.


    Check communication.


    Some startup failures stem from a lack of communication, or poor communication between employees. Go back and analyze how you delegate tasks and relay information to your team. Be sure that you’re clear and answer any questions that may arise so everyone is on the same page before moving forward.


    Were you the customer?


    Entrepreneurs sometimes get caught up in designing a product or service around their own needs instead of the customers’. When a failure arises, question the products or services that you offer, and try to redefine who your audience is. If no one is buying the product or service as is, it could be you designed it for a customer that only exists in your head. Adjust to who the actual target market is, and you’ll be sure to achieve success.


    Who did you ignore?


    Startup failures could also stem from ignoring what the competition is doing, or even ignoring that they exist in the first place! No company, large or small, can succeed without being aware of what’s going on in the industry. If you’re planning on releasing a new service offering that is supposed to save your business, only to find out your competitor already has done it, this could have easily been prevented if you kept a watchful eye on those around you. Even making costly marketing mistakes can be prevented by watching more experienced competitors by analyzing how they spend their dollars and which channels they obviously avoid.


    What failures have you encountered as a startup entrepreneur? Tell us in the comments below!

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