9th March, 2016
How many of us have failed at something during our lives?
Well, the only true answer is all of us. Some more spectacularly than others, but each and every one of us has failed at something or other. But do we ever shout about our failures or freely discuss them with friends, families, colleagues or business associates? Some of us may, but most of us certainly don’t. It’s just not very British!
Maybe it is time to follow the American philosophy, where failure is embraced and seen as a positive.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” Robert F. Kennedy
Of course, constant failure will never result in success! However, it is important to learn from our mistakes; understand the reasons why; and move on with our business ideas.
The most successful companies in the world have experienced failure but instead of disappearing with their heads down, they embrace their mistakes, develop their ideas and bounce back. How can we learn if we don’t make mistakes?
Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, authors of ‘Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation’, say, “We’re such a success-oriented culture, but think what we need is more failure. Improvements only happen when you try things differently.”
History is littered with stories of businesses and individuals who have turned failure into success. For example, it is said that the world famous Jacuzzi whirlpool was invented for arthritis sufferers, but failed to take off. It was then re-launched as a luxury item and the rest is history. Likewise, it is reported that Microsoft spent many years working on a failed database called Omega which resulted in the development of the most popular desktop database, Microsoft Access. Similarly, JK Rowling was an unemployed and depressed single mother who never thought she would make it anywhere. She spent night after night in coffee shops working on a novel about wizards, and describes herself then as “the biggest failure she knew.” Ultimately the way she embraced her failure formed the foundation of her incredible success. The list goes on and on………
Of course, not all failure should be seen as success. Careless, mindless, or malicious acts should be acknowledged and dealt with appropriately.
We need to remove the stigma from failure and see it not as the end, but the beginning.
“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is the only opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” as Henry Ford so eloquently said.
Written by Carole White, Chief Executive, TEDCO Business Support
If you have a business idea but are worried that it may not be the success you think it could be, take some encouragement from these words from Carole. You should also take advantage of any help, advice, and support that is available to ensure your business idea develops into the firmest of footings upon which to build a business. Contact you local Cavendish Enterprise partner to discuss the business support available to you.