We pour our heart and soul into our businesses.
We spend endless hours coming up with a strategy to sell our amazing product. We rewrite copy over and over. We practice our sales pitch a million times in the mirror. And we agonize over the tiniest details.
Is this shade of blue better than this shade of blue?
They’re not the same! My entire future hangs in the balance!
If I choose the wrong blue – I’m doomed forever!
It’s going to be okay. We are not robots – just human. Learning from our inevitable mistakes is the only pathway to our success. Instead of dreading each misstep, we should embrace them as part of the process even when it’s embarrassing or frustrating.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
I have a little secret to share. We are going to make mistakes. HUGE mistakes, small blunders, and maybe even awkwardly embarrassing mistakes that no one will let us forget.
I once taught a class and said:
“We’re going to play Ninja Testicles“
The parents spoke up and said:
“What exactly are you going to teach our kids?”
I meant to say tentacles and not testicles. I had no idea I said it wrong and we all had a good laugh and thankfully none of the kids picked up on what I was saying.
No one is perfect and we’re all human. The notion that we won’t make mistakes is absurd. Of course, we will! That’s all part of life and business. Except the real issue isn’t when we make mistakes it’s how we deal with them that matters most.
It’s very easy to feel frustrated, disappointed or even ashamed when we make a mistake. It’s also easy to avoid looking at why we make the mistake (again, we’re human). Yet, denying our mistakes exist or not making corrections will put our business on the fast track to failure. The only way to survive in business is to learn from our mistakes and make better choices in the future.
Learn How to Read Analytics
There are many aspects of our business including marketing, accounting, social media, and eCommerce that have important analytics. While we may not be able to analyze every issue, analytics help us understand our data to understand how our customers (or lack of customers) engage with our business.
We could be spending an hour a day on Twitter when Facebook was bringing in thousands of customers. We could stop wasting time tweeting and move our focus to Facebook. Here are a few examples of eCommerce analytics that will help determine how we manage every aspect of our business:
- Overview – acts like a scorecard showing the overall sales conversion rate, the number of transactions, value sold, average order value, items sold
- Product Performance – shows which products are bought, the quantity, and the value
- Sales Performance – shows sales by either order or by date
- Transactions – shows the price, shipping, and quantity information for each order
- Time to purchase – shows the number of days and sessions it takes to purchase
And we need to look at analytics from our website, Google, social media sites and any other important platform or service we are using. Although this may take time to learn and analyze, it’s one of the most important things we can do for any business.
The Permanent Course Correction Mindset
One of my all-time favorite movies is Disney’s Meet the Robinsons. It’s an epic adventure of failing and moving forward.
“YOU FAILED!!! And it was awesome! Exceptional! Outstanding! From failure you learn! From success, not so much…”
And that’s exactly it. We learn from failure. In fact, Thomas Edison had the same philosophy when he invented the lightbulb. When asked how he felt failing 1000 times, Edison quipped:
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Inventors and entrepreneurs are both in the same situation. They create something from nothing more than an idea. They build something that will hopefully match their vision. And neither generally gets it exactly right the first time.
All business owners need to be flexible and adaptable. Even when we’ve spent hundreds of hours on a new endeavor, if it’s not working, it’s not working. We need a Permanent Course Correction Mindset. We should always look for ways to improve, tweak the details, and always evolve with the times. We can’t be tied to any one idea, product or strategy that we don’t look at the facts in front of us. Even if that means we have to change course in the middle of a project.
Don’t be afraid to fail spectacularly. We just dust yourself off and try again.
And again, and again…