Failure drives business growth, but that doesn’t make it enjoyable. In fact, most business owners miss the silver lining of failure because they let negative emotions get in the way. While it’s normal to crave victory over your short and long-term goals, your mindset around failure can make or break your business. How do you handle failure?
Why is Failure Important to Any Business?
Like it or not, failure is inevitable to all businesses, regardless of their industry or size. No service team can meet goal after goal without a hiccup here and there. Mistakes are as natural as emails are plentiful. (Every business owner can understand that comparison, right?)
Of course, you do everything in your power to avoid failure, but it’s an important part of the growth process.
Think about the goals you set for your business this year. Whether you aim to double your revenue over the year prior or expand your client pool by 30%, you probably perceive reaching your goals as the ultimate sign of success. But what about if you don’t reach them?
Failing to achieve your goals doesn’t mean all is lost. After all, a goal is merely something you aim for—and it offers value even when you miss the bullseye. For example, driving towards the goal to answer all of your emails by 5:00 P.M. may still get you to the inner table by 5:15 or 5:30. (But – that’s still better than 6:00 P.M.) It’s all about progress.
Imagine Your Business Without Failure
Imagine you’re a social media manager who’s just put together an amazing post for a big client. You confidently click to upload, then carry on with your day. Hours later, you realize you uploaded your post to the wrong client’s account.
How do you handle failure like this? Of course, it’s embarrassing and your first instinct might be to crawl into a cave and never return to your laptop. A better response: fix your system. Set up a routine or a fail-safe to ensure you don’t scramble your client information again.
If you hadn’t made such a silly mistake, you’d have never reassessed your workflow or client management techniques. The same logic applies to all failures: they get you to see your business differently so you can grow.
A business without failure is a business without growth. Embrace hard times as the very thing that makes you experienced—and therefore more marketable and valuable over your competitors.
How Do You Handle Failure as a Professional?
How do you handle failure in a healthy, productive way as a business owner? When the expectation (or necessity) is to press on, you need to develop skills that allow you to deal with hard times.
Check out these important tips to help you cope with business failures.
Own Your Failures
Acceptance is key. Just as you should take time to celebrate small wins, you need to acknowledge mess-ups or disappointments. Failing to acknowledge your failures (see what I did there?) makes it impossible to learn and grow from them.
When you realize you’ve failed, take a moment to acknowledge the loss:
- Say it out loud
- Write it down in your notes for the day
- Communicate it to your team
- Draw the line in the sand—it’s time for a new plan
These sorts of processing techniques allow you to confront reality and absorb each important piece of the puzzle, including where you went wrong.
Never punish yourself for a failure! Missed goals are normal and to be expected, remember? Allow yourself a moment to feel upset, but then search for bright spots and potential. A failure is really just a fresh start in disguise.
Review the Metrics
The answer to “how do you handle failure?” should be… logically. Turn to your data to reach the bottom of things with less head scratching. In the end, numbers tell all.
Your business metrics will expose all issues. With the numbers in front of you, you can evaluate your failures to discover how they happened and what exactly went wrong.
Plus, you’ll be able to identify areas of success through your numbers. Very few failures occur without some shimmer of positivity. It’s important you hang on to what went right—and only do away with or adjust the components of your failures that were actually wrong.
Data’s most helpful when you understand what it means and how it should impact your next move.
Create a Growth Plan
Use your business metrics to help create a plan for next time. Metrics show you where you need to focus and improve for better results.
For instance, a funnel builder with lower-than-expected conversion rates should use their metrics to pinpoint the problem. Whether their potential clients lost interest on the landing page or service menu, the data will highlight the issue for repairs.
You can come up with a detailed, informed course of action to make sure the same problems don’t happen twice.
Celebrate Small Wins!
Be sure not to overlook this step when exploring answers to “how do you handle failure?” Congratulations are in order for every single success—no matter how they measure against your mess-ups and missed marks.
Celebrations fuel a positive mindset and make it possible for you to work through your failures. Without recognizing the things you did well, it becomes difficult to look toward your future successes. All you’ll see is the negative, which will make you unsatisfied and may have you searching for a new career altogether. (You’ve come too far to let that happen.)
Remember to notice the good stuff. There’s lots of it to go around!
How do you handle failure as a business owner? Disappointment, mistakes, and hard losses are part of any service-providing gig. Whether you’ve mastered getting back up after a hard fall, or you take days to recover (ouch), it’s important to consider the bright side of failure.