If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying, trying, and trying again. Such is the nature of entrepreneurship. Some entrepreneurs succeed at their first try, but most often, they make many mistakes before reaching success. Learning from mistakes is the key to success. Being open to making mistakes and admitting them is not a sign of weakness. There is no shame in failure… I know this from personal experience!
My investment partner once remarked that losing money is not a crime, but running out of money is. I think I would agree with that sentiment in the context of a one-dimensional business, but most businesses can adapt and change and flex based on their circumstances, and there are times when you set out with the best of intentions, based on all of the research you’ve done, but due to a fundamental issue (often unforeseen), you’re headed for failure.
I know this first hand from a gardening retail business that I started and eventually sold. Prior to selling the business, we launched a very expensive e-commerce strategy to expand our products to our existing customers online. Our in-store advertising and great e-commerce site, with all the bells and whistles, cost a small fortune, but 2 months after we launched, sales would not have even paid for a celebratory drink!
We discovered that our existing customers preferred to physically visit our stores for their shopping experiences, and that attempting online shopping would simply cannibalise their in-store experiences. Despite investing more than six figures in the experience and spending considerable time and resources, we decided to shut down the service after a few months. It worked, but it was an expensive, six-figure mistake we made. So we started over, and this time with an emphasis on directing local web traffic to our stores physically through local marketing.
There are times when you throw everything that you have at your business to make it successful, but even if you do your best, you may not succeed. The skill of great people is to recognise this and make conscious changes. Albert Einstein once said that insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
As long as you have given your Start Up business your best shot and learned from it, there is nothing wrong with it becoming a Start Over business.
Reflect on what you have learned. Perhaps there was an unclear strategy, a poorly aligned team, a problem with customers, or some other unfortunate event. Regardless, here are a few additional resources you can use to get back on track and achieve another goal.
Entrepreneurship is my passion, and I love hearing about other people’s journeys, so come share yours with me.
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