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4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure [And Prepare For Success]

4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure
4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure

We're told that in order to succeed we must fail.

Failure is that inevitable thing you're just waiting for when you start a new business or venture.

Whatever you look at today, was the work of repeated failed attempts that all led to the grand breakthrough.

A very simple example is the thing attached to your ceiling right now.

It's said that Thomas Edison, the inventor behind many inventions including the lightbulb, failed over 1000 times before he finally got the first lightbulb to work.

But how did 1000 failed attempts lead to one massive success?

Another inventor, and one more popular in our day and age, Albert Einstein is famously quoted for saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

With this said, Thomas Edison would have never managed to create the lightbulb if he had tried the same thing 1000 times over.

The reason the lightbulb was successful is that for every failure, there was a lesson that helped Thomas Edison push through the next failure.

Each lesson compounded to form the, what seemed like magic, 'lightbulb.'

When we watch sports such as basketball, we see giant players, monstrously athletic, and think how one person can be this powerful and sharp at their craft.

But arguably one of the best basketball players in our current day and age, Giannis Antetokounmpo is said to rewatch every single game he plays to the second, looking for mistakes and flaws in his game.

He is not the only one who does this, other players are also known for rewatching their games to find the exact reason behind their failure in the previous game.

In my attempt to build Hawk, my most recent venture, I had no idea how to code and play with APIs.

I tried for a week, 10+ hours per day to make the API work with my use case, until it finally clicked.

If I had gone at every attempt doing the exact same thing as the previous one, I would have been a right fit for Einstein's famous quote.

But for every failed attempt, I assessed the plethora of reasons why it may not have worked and retried with a slightly different approach.

I've failed at many things, many businesses and it's a painful process to go through.

Some of my biggest mistakes and failures are summed up in this article here.

But when you have your WHY set straight, and your parameters in place to keep you pushing - such as vision boards, you expect nothing to slow you down.

From every business failure, however, lessons are left from the aftermath that are important for our betterment.

In this article, we're going to be discussing exactly how you can learn from your failures and mistakes, pushing you closer to the pinnacle of success.

Take Note

4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure

In order to learn from your failures, you must first know the exact steps that led to the failure.

This allows you to dissect the situation and logically put reasoning behind it. 

In my first business, I had started a dropshipping store where we sold lumbar back stretchers.

Although I've outlined all my mistakes and lessons in the article about this, It's important to jog our memory here.

In detail, you'll want to outline what you did and the outcome of this situation.

With the dropshipping store, the first thing I did was go to YouTube and find a full course on starting a store and launching your first product.

This was a full A-Z course.

From here, I created a Shopify account and started hunting for my first product.

After some thought, I decided on moving forward with the Lumbar back stretchers, seeing one store advertising it on Instagram.

I set out to build the store and look for a supplier for the products on Alibaba.

I messaged as many suppliers as I could until I found the right one.

I spent a few weeks perfecting the store, getting everything ready before moving on.

I spent another week or so working on the name, logo, and paid a freelancer on Fiverr to create the advert for me.

I created some social accounts such as Facebook and Instagram, built some 'hype' by posting a few pictures and then launched the product another week later.

From here, I spent £11 on ads and quit the store after seeing no results.

We could go a little deeper into each part of the story, but this won't be necessary for this demonstration since the failures and mistakes I made were blatant and easy to spot.

This is all for your own good, so leaving out any information or writing with a bias is not benefitting anyone.

Make sure you're as honest with yourself as possible.

Re-live the failure

4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure

Although this may be painful, what's even more painful is not doing this and continuing to fail.

What you'll want to do after you've written out the event from start to finish is re-live it.

Play it all out in your head and critique it without bias.

A simple mistake I made at the start was turning straight to YouTube without trying it out by myself first.

I thought that in business, you can get your hand held through the whole process and walk away unscathed.

I don't recommend following every single thing you hear from social media or other 'gurus' word for word.


After this, I chose the product too early.

I had not done any research into the demand, the competition, etc.

I had not checked Google Trends or Google AdSense to see the sort of advertising competition and pricing I'd be paying for.

I didn't even check forums to see if the audience that I was going to be serving needed something like this as a solution.

Matter of fact, I didn't look into the audience at all.

I just found a product and chose to sell it - I never knew I needed a niche market.

If I was to restart this process, here are the 6 steps I'd follow this time.

Finding a supplier went better than I thought it would for an introvert who's never spoken to anyone other than his close friends and mother.

The only real critique I could give here is that I could have done better to negotiate more ideal terms.

On top of this, the delivery times were a month or longer - our competition would have been Amazon's next-day delivery.

Everything else could have been done in a week.

The site, social accounts, advert, and from there I could have launched the same week too.

Finally, I gave up too early. I was scared of losing money so I gave up after spending no more than £30 altogether on the business.

This is partly my fault and also the false reality that is connected to dropshipping.

You can't start a profitable dropshipping store for free.

Unless you do everything the 'Lean Startup' way, then there will be costs incurred that you must accept.

Look over your own entry and ask yourself:
  • where did you go wrong
  • Why did you fail
  • How you can avoid this same mistake next time.

Setting action steps

4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure

After you've figured out where you went wrong and answered the questions from the previous step, you'll want to start setting action steps.

In 'Zero To One,' Peter Thiel mentions how 'learning' has become the new excuse for failure.

You will hear of many failures, followed by a phrase that goes something like this '...but we've learnt some valuable lessons and we'll come back stronger.'

The reality is, not many people take the time to learn from their failures.

At the start of my journey, I didn't take the time to analyse my failures and learn how to avoid the same mistakes.

It's this ignorance that allows people to walk into the same trap over and over, then blame everything other than themselves for it.

"It's the market."

"It's the business model."

Whilst running my agency, everything I did was out-of-the-box client attraction.

Whenever it failed (and it did all the time), I didn't think about how we can do things differently, because I was scared of trying something and failing at it again.

So I just tried the same thing, over and over like a clown in a circuit.

To truly make the most out of a failure, you must set action steps that you'll follow for the next time you try something.

Going back to our dropshipping example, the action steps I would set would look something like this:
  1. Do the necessary market and competition research before choosing a product
  2. Look at the audience you're trying to serve and identify a problem to solve, don't look for a problem to fit your solution
  3. Negotiate better terms with suppliers - It's okay to sacrifice short-term profits to build a long-term business
  4. Build faster, fail fast, learn faster - it doesn't matter if you like the site, only your audience and the metrics that come back will depict this
  5. Don't be afraid to spend and fail. Allocate a budget to marketing and use it effectively
The action steps must satisfy the questions you asked yourself in the previous step.

They must be different from what you tried before, or else you're just repeating the failure again.

Embrace failure, It happens

4 Crucial Steps For Entrepreneurs To Learn From Failure

This is more of a mental block to overcome than anything else.

If you've read some of my other articles (which I highly recommend), you'd know that mentality and mindset are two things I believe in a lot.

It doesn't matter how big you are, how scary you are, your past experience, the capital on hand, your height, age, gender, nationality, or whatever else you can think of.

Your outcome is a mere reflection of your mindset.

If you believe that you don't deserve to be wealthy, you'll live your whole life going from one paycheck to the next, from one job to another.

If you believe that your dream life is on the other side of all these challenges, and all you have to do is conquer them without giving up, then you'll get to live that life.

With this in mind, you must understand that failure is all part of the game.

In the book 'Principles,' Ray Dalio mentions how treating your life as a game, where overcoming these challenges and failures is the goal, will help you deal with them better.

Nothing great has ever been built on perfection alone.

The great pyramid at Giza was the work of 100,000 men who took 20 years of constant challenges, mistakes, and failures to build this iconic landmark.

Apple was a company that almost went bankrupt until Steve Jobs was appointed as CEO once again, releasing the iPod, iPhone, and iPad which made Apple one of the largest companies in the world today alongside giants such as Amazon.

Risk and reward, although cliché, are two closely linked concepts.

Without one, you can't have the other.

What have you picked up from this article?

What are some lessons you've learnt from your failures?

Share them below in the comments.

Till next time,
Mohamad


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