7 Steps to Bouncing Back After Failing in Business
If you’re an entrepreneur, I sincerely hope you never fail in your business endeavors or have things go wrong.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll know that it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to fail and things are going to go wrong.
So, rather than just giving you my sincerest hopes and wishes, I think it’d also be a good idea to equip you with a strategy you can deploy if and when things do go wrong. So you can bounce back and stay on your path to becoming the CEO Entrepreneur you were destined to be.
Hit play on the video below or read on for more…
Advice based on my own experience
If you haven’t read my last post, I recommend you do. It got a little personal, a little open and honest, and a lot of other things.
Plus, you’ll see some references to my story in this post, so if you want to be clued up on the in-jokes and the context of my failure and how I recovered from it, do take a few minutes to read the previous post.
If you do, you’ll see that all of this advice I’m sharing with you is based on my own experience of enormous, catastrophic, unbelievable-but-for-the-fact-it-happened failure.
I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt (and had to sell the T-shirt immediately to help bail my business partner out of jail)… And these are the seven steps that I took, initially unintentionally, to bounce back.
1) Take some time off
Okay, immediately I have to own up to something. I didn’t do this at first and I suffered as a consequence. Looking back, I know that this is an essential part of bouncing back after failing in business.
I kept going but I was still miserable, down, and in chronic pain. Everything was out of sorts and I was a shadow of who I used to be.
Taking down time is so important if you want to come back at your entrepreneurial journey with a fresh and refreshed perspective. If you keep going at it, your mind will get no rest. An unrested mind means an always-on mind, and when it doesn’t turn off…
Well, you can end up like me, waking up every morning in cold sweats and anxiety attacks.
2) Find someone you trust and who understands your vision
You need a confidant, a voice that cuts through the chaos, and that isn’t necessarily your best friend or partner.
Many of the people I love and trust told me that I had tried and done brilliantly, but that now it was time to get a job and give up my dream of entrepreneurship.
But I wasn’t ready to go back to the ‘real world’ and waste my life in someone else’s office.
They weren’t the right people to talk to.
The right person will help you think about things in a different way, support you, and encourage you to grow from the experience, not shrink from it.
3) Lessons learned
Now it’s time to sit down and analyze what went wrong. You’ve had your down time away from the situation, you’ve started speaking to people who get it, now it’s time to go back and start writing down everything that happened.
Write down what went wrong, analyze it, and write out what you think you could have done better.
If, like I did, you had a huge client pull out of your contract, is that because you focused too much resource on a single project? In the future, perhaps you will diversify your workload more.
This step allows you to really begin to learn from your mistakes and understand where you can improve. This is one of the most powerful ways you can learn and improve as an entrepreneur.
4) Rewrite your narrative
More writing, I hope you’ve got a good pen to hand! Your next step is to write out your story of what happened, what went wrong, and where you fit into all of it.
This might not feel very good, it might get a bit ugly, but it might just be the best thing you can do to transform your failure into a success.
Don’t hold back – write down those nasty, grizzly feelings like shame and guilt. Put all of the things that are playing on your mind down on paper.
Once that’s done… start looking at it from other perspectives.
Write down how other people might see the sequence of events, the things that you did right, the things you managed well, the reasons you shouldn’t feel guilty. Try to understand why they would say these things – it’s not just because they want you to feel better, it’s because it’s the truth from their perspective.
Taking those new perspectives, flip your narrative on its head and incorporate those views into the way you see your story so that it empowers you!
For every bad thing that happened, find a positive that has come from it:
My business failed and I had to move back to England, but I met my wife as a result.
My business failed and I had to start from scratch, but I did so with so much more experience and preparation.
5) Revisit your purpose
When a big event happens in your life, it can be a cause for reflection – stepping back and saying “I don’t want to do this anymore” or, in fact, “I am more determined than ever to do this.”
Both of these are fine! It’s all about reflecting on what you want and need to be doing based off of your experiences (good and bad).
In my case, I didn’t just want to work in tech anymore. I wanted to start focusing on helping other entrepreneurs and small business owners. I wanted to be the kind of help that I didn’t have when I was at my lowest ebb. I wanted to change the education system so that it created strong, adaptable, risk-taking entrepreneurs (not factory drones).
My purpose had shifted as a result of my experiences – yours might, too.
6) Integrate failure into your business
Embracing failure doesn’t sound like it should be part of succeeding in business… but failure is inevitable. You should try to avoid it and do what you can to mitigate it, but failure is part of life.
Bad things happen and things don’t go to plan, but we stick our heads in the sand and imagine they never will.
You need to know what you’re going to do in case of failure.
Companies write risk logs and policies that explain what bad things can happen and why they definitely will not happen…
You need to know what bad things can happen and how you will respond to them when they inevitably do happen.
If all businesses start embracing and integrating failure, rather than trying to get everything right and avoiding failure at all costs, a lot more business would succeed.
7) Get back to it
After you’ve done the work of recovering, reflecting, and refreshing; all that’s left to do is restart.
Sure, you can give up and admit defeat… but then what? Are your dreams, goals, and visions of the future just gone? Left to be unfulfilled and not achieved? That’s not you.
You go back to square one, you do all the work laid out in the previous six steps, and you come back – enriched by the lessons learned and revitalised with your new focus on your goals and vision.
That is the way you are going to succeed after failing in business.
You can do this – I know it!
When things go wrong, you can come back from them wiser, more experienced, and stronger.
Failing in business is not the end of the world.
It’s possible for you to be able to achieve your dreams and the successes you’ve always imagined – even when things go wrong.
Look at some of the most successful people in the world, all of them will have had their own major catastrophes, mistakes, and failures.
The truth is, nobody gets to the place they want without learning – and the biggest lessons we learn are the ones we get from our mistakes.
Follow these seven steps and bounce back from your failure. You can do this.
Make sure to watch the previous video to this post – How to Succeed After Failing in Business – Part 1.
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