When Your Small Business Fails

“Despite my best efforts in running my own business, I have to admit that my venture is just not going to work out. Over the years, my business has cost me a lot of money and hurt my relationships with my family. Now, I feel like a failure because I really believed that I would have been successful at being my own boss.”

The entrepreneurial journey can oftentimes be treacherous, as there are many pitfalls and challenges en route to business success. Whether you are new to business or a seasoned entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to take on the risks which are inherent in any enterprise.

There are very few successful businessmen today who at some point didn’t face a disappointing result from their ventures. Like any other career, being an entrepreneur requires you to advance through a learning curve, where time and experience will help you to become better at your job.

Instead of only focusing on the negative aspects of the collapse of your business, consider your experience as your initiation rites into entrepreneurship. Don’t think that your inability to succeed after your first attempt only signals the end of the road for your business goals. In fact, a ‘failure’ can actually help you to become a better entrepreneur.

Business success trainer, T Harv Eker of Peak Potentials, explains that there are three key elements for any business to succeed: the right business vehicle, the right knowledge and the right you. The right business vehicle involves finding an opportunity that fits your expertise. The right knowledge involves familiarity with business skills as well as industry-specific knowledge. The right you involves your own personal development as an entrepreneur.

Let’s consider these three key elements and see how the failure to get the result you wanted in this business might actually help you to succeed in the future:

Do You Have The Right Business Venture?

Creativity consultant, Roger Von Oech, declared that there are two benefits of failure. “First, if you do fail, you learn what does not work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.” Think hard about your current business – is it really the right venture for you at this time? Did you do any research to determine if customers really wanted what you had to offer?

Sometimes a business idea might have great potential, but it fails to take off because it’s ahead of its time and the market is just not ready to receive it. It’s very important to complete a business plan before you jump right into a venture, as it can help to reveal if your concept will work in the real world.
You should get professional advice from a business counsellor to help you review your business idea and see what improvements might be necessary. You can contact Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI, formerly JAMPRO) or the Jamaica Business Development Corporation for assistance.

Do You Have The Right Business Knowledge?

When asked how he felt about failing so many times in his quest to perfect the light bulb, inventor Thomas Edison replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Often, you have to continue to learn and improve your business processes and practices until you develop the right formula.

Many people embark on an entrepreneurial career without realising that there are several skills that are necessary for success. You have to acquire knowledge about basic accounting, marketing methods, effective communication, management of people and strategic thinking; and keep abreast of technical developments in your particular industry.
If you are still committed to being your own boss, enrol in training courses in the areas that you might not be experienced in. You can also try to find a successful business mentor whom you can emulate, to guide you in your operations.

Do You Have The Right Business Mentality?

Although your business problems might feel devastating right now, don’t look at it as a sign that you don’t have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Televangelist Robert Schuller asserted that “Failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure.it just means that you haven’t succeeded yet.”

You have to be mentally tough to survive the disappointments that will come along the journey, so personal development is vital to your long-term success. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information available through books, CDs, DVDs, Internet sites and coaching programmes on creating a positive business mindset.

Here are some great books that can help you to develop the right business mentality:

– Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki,
– Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker,
– The E Myth by Michael Gerber,
– Developing the Leader within You by John Maxwell,
– Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Remember, disappointments in business are all part of the entrepreneurial game, so don’t despair. As Lloyd Brown declared, “The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”

Copyright © 2009 Cherryl Hanson Simpson.