Fresh into the new year, most entrepreneurs have already made up their minds about their new resolutions to fast track their start-up to the next level.
However, it is also the time to pause and look back and identify the various factors which have kept the start-up from achieving the desired levels of success in the past year.
By now, all founders know that a start-up’s journey is littered with frequent pitfalls, but a quick and sure recovery is only possible if apt remedial measures are taken as soon as possible. This requires a thorough analysis of what went wrong, to logically derive solutions from the assessment rather than applying any quick fix remedies.
Acknowledge the mistakes through introspection
In an entrepreneur’s life, setbacks tend to outnumber successes. These frequent knocks can give rise to a tendency to write off these failures and start afresh. But, lessons may not have been learnt in the process and the entrepreneur is likely to repeat the pattern of failure.
Entrepreneurs have a tunnel vision, where their venture is concerned, wanting the venture to be all about the technology or totally focussed on sales, without keeping the right perspective of the business and having a balanced plan. Unless the entrepreneur is able to embrace the failures, accept and acknowledge the miscalculations, moving on in the right direction is not possible.
For entrepreneurs, their start-up is their brainchild and baby, whether it is a product, service or technology. Acknowledging the shortcomings in one’s own baby is the toughest call. Entrepreneurs who are able to accept the failure of the product or technology and are willing to change these with more effective features are most likely to succeed next time around.
Failure analysis helps to project realistic expectations for investors
It is a natural tendency for entrepreneurs to notice only achievements and gloss over the failures. However, this does not benefit a start-up in the long run. It is important to understand the hiccups that the start-up has faced, even when pitching to investors, and have potential solutions chalked out, so they know you are in full control of things and know how to turn the situation around. This also prevents investors from having unrealistic expectations from a start-up, and in the case of any future glitches, they are less surprised by the outcomes and more supportive in the long run.
A good entrepreneur should be able to view failure as a potential for improvement and project the same to investors. Keeping back information on past performances will only create an atmosphere of distrust and lack of confidence, and does no good to the start-up.
Introspection allows an entrepreneur to gain experience
There is no school that can teach an entrepreneur as well as actual experience, where failures are the biggest teachers.
It is not possible for an entrepreneur to know in-depth every aspect of the business. With a tight budget, a limited team and limited resources it is difficult to conduct a proper market test and research of their ideas or products. Unfortunately, at a considerable cost to the entrepreneur personally, failures serve as good lessons for future actions.
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With retrospection, they are able to come up with better strategies or products to attract the customers or counter the competition. This is why in Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs are not afraid of failure, and rather, flaunt them like a badge of honour. Bill Gates has come so far after a start with failure in the early stages with his first company called Traf-O-Data. A few years later he created his first Microsoft product. Henry Ford, one of the earliest entrepreneurs, failed at least five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company, a product of many valuable lessons learnt from his previous endeavours.
The adage, “Failure is the stepping stone to success” is apt for any entrepreneur. But the key here is that you need to dissect the failure and analyse it closely to draw lessons for the future. Only then will an entrepreneur be able to make the failure a beginning to another