Risking it all on a business venture often-times leads to less than desirable results, just ask me. I took the leap into entrepreneurship and landed flat on my face, messing up my finances in the process. While this wounded my pride and self-efficacy, I ultimately learned from the experience and bounced back stronger than ever before.
Mistakes are Learning Opportunities
Most people don’t have the guts to take their entrepreneurial dreams and turn them into reality. It took a while, but I eventually gave myself credit for taking that risk. What I’ve come to realize and appreciate is that most people that go into business fail the first time.
The Small Business Administration notes that over 50 percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. Entrepreneurs that learn from their mistakes and keep going are the ones that ultimately succeed. For most people, the first time out is just to get a feel for how to run a business.
I tried to do everything myself, which was a big mistake. Business development was done by me, kept my own books and performed the day-to-day operations. I was working day and night thinking the hard work was going to pay-off, but I was dead wrong.
I spread myself too thin and nothing got done the way that it should have. Starting a small business is a huge undertaking, and I failed to leverage the people around me to get things started the right way. I failed to trust people, or to train someone to help me.
I’ve stopped beating myself up for my failure to manage my time, resources and skills effectively. Even highly intelligent and successful people need to learn how to manage. This was among the most important lessons I learned from my doomed venture.
Going into debt to start a business is a bad idea, but going into debt to prolong the eventual failure of a struggling business is even worse. Getting cash advances on credit cards is a telltale sign of imminent danger and should be viewed as such. Through seeking refuge in debt, I screwed up my finances in a major way.
I drained my savings and took advantage of high-cost financing, all to my financial detriment. I did this in part because I didn’t want to admit failure or come to grips with the reality of my situation. Fortunately, bad credit doesn’t have to stay bad forever.
I built my credit back up, by making my monthly payments on time and paying off my credit cards. Although it took a while to recover completely, I eventually brought my finances back to the level needed to purchase a home or buy a new vehicle, and get a good interest rate in the process.
One of the most significant hurdles to recovering from my failed venture was physiological. It was hard for me to deal with failure on a personal level. My self-confidence was deflated and I felt down about the situation I put myself in.
Fortunately, I realized that failure is only temporary. Also, I rebuilt my self-confidence by listing out the things I did correctly. I did everything from develop a product and service to finding customers and fulfilling a need. Most people do not have the insight or skills to pull something like that off.
One of the reasons I failed is that I didn’t have enough mentors. I didn’t seek out the counsel of experienced business, legal and insurance professionals, in order to give myself the best chance of success. After speaking with experienced professionals, I learned about my mistakes and how to prevent them in the future.
In particular, I learned that having a good plan is essential for long-term success. A business plan should have almost everything, ranging from pro forma financials to a plan for insurance. There is no reason to go into a business not knowing how to succeed.
Also, I learned that performing a product feasibility analysis is an important first step, before making the leap into self-employment. Thoroughly thinking out and reviewing the feasibility of a product or service is critical for having a chance at success.
There is no shame in asking for help or surrounding oneself with a team of experienced professionals. In talking to these professionals, I learned that the mistakes I made are common. Many of them have made the same mistakes, and they didn’t let that keep them from succeeding in business.
Perseverance is one of the main determinants of success.
For additional information on entrepreneurship or on how to overcome a failed business venture, feel free to shoot me a message. There is no reason to let a small misstep turn into a lifelong prohibition against starting another business.
Rebecca is an author, entrepreneur and most of all a wife and mother of 2. What she enjoys the most is helping normal people reach their full potential. Rebecca uses her ever growing skills in writing to inspire people and not settle for a normal life. As an entrepreneur, she has no shortage of failures and that is why Rebecca is the ideal person to talk about this.