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life in rural nebraska

Failure is Good?

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For those of you who had a chance to listen to Tom Chapman speak at our annual banquet, one major take-away was how important acceptance of failure can be as part of any entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Failure can be the greatest teacher for most of us regardless of whether we start a new business, take a risk or even plant a garden.  Soichiro Honda said it best – “Success is 99% failure”.

Entrepreneur.com offers lessons to be learned from failure – something all prospective business start-ups should take to heart:

  1. Survival Matters Most
  2. The Toxic “If…Then”
  3. Money has a strong survival instinct
  4. Act on the Worst Case While You Could Still Be Wrong
  5. Manage Expectations – Your Own and Your Investors
  6. Be Willing to Fire Yourself

I’ve been blessed to meet some successful and spectacularly un-successful entrepreneurs over the years.  I’ve worked for one failed business and one small biz that clawed tooth and nail to carve their niche in their market.  Reflecting back on the lessons learned, it was easier for me to see what separated the small business owners I worked for – those that succeeded from those that didn’t.  The ability to tolerate and turn failure into opportunity was the catalyst for their survival.

To the author of the 6 tips, he sums up his experience of failure nicely:

And that’s the only reason I’m sure that, had the economic meltdown come even a few months later, my business would have been funded and this story would have been about the heroic entrepreneur who pulled off the next big thing. It might have worked out that way if I had fired myself sooner. A most important lesson learned just slightly too late.


Written by Caleb

March 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm

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