No one enjoys failing. When you’ve poured your heart and soul into an effort that crashes and burns, the pain can be excruciating. Yet business failure is a part of running a company at one point or another. So, should you find yourself down and out, focus on the upside. It will help you get back on track quickly, and with newfound strength.
Here are five reasons to dust yourself off and considering any failure a blessing in disguise.
1. It’s an education
Thomas Edison made 1,000 attempts at the light bulb before succeeding. You could say he had 1,000 failures, but with each attempt he learned something more. Following a “failure,” you’re better educated, better experienced and, hopefully, a bit wiser.
The same mindset can be seen in modern business, with much success. For example, at NerdWallet, a company offering tools and advice for managing personal financial decisions, failure is celebrated publicly on the “Fail Wall,” a space covered with Post-it notes memorializing the lessons learned.
2. It can improve investment opportunities
In Entrepreneur.com’s Celebrating Failure article, Jake Gibson notes one big reason to rejoice: “Many founders of failed companies find it easier to raise money for their second company because investors know they are buying experience and the lessons learned from those failed endeavors.”
Conducting a thorough post-mortem is on many a business guru’s short list of things to do following a setback. Collect all the insights and data you can. Learn where the missteps occurred — and how they can be avoided the next time.
3. It’s a bonding experience
When we fail, we often do it in the company of partners, colleagues and employees. They are all affected, and may suffer as much as we do. Let these people know that you value them and care about them. Don’t engage in blaming or any other form of divisiveness.
Focus on moving forward as a team. The shared experience can be transformative, providing for you to emerge from the setback as a stronger, more committed organization.
4. It provides a determined focus
Jodi Goldstein, managing director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, is one of many experts advising that you not dwell on the past as you pick up the pieces following a failure.
“Don’t waste energy by constantly thinking about how you could have avoided the situation that you’re currently in. If you decide to continue with the venture, this means working to maintain high levels of morale amongst your team, celebrating each win that you achieve as you battle your way back into business.
« If you ultimately decide that you cannot, or don’t want to continue with your startup, it means taking the lessons that you learned to whatever you might do next, while not dwelling on what could have been.”
5. It’s never the end
Finally, remember that whenever you fail, you’re in good company. The most successful people on the planet have all been failures at one time or another. Consider your low point as merely the prologue to your next chapter.