Change how you define business failure

Most business owners find themselves readjusting their expectation when it’s time to implement their plan. Some are even forced to take a climb-down on their ambitions. Is this business failure?

If you’re pretty hardcore and believe that compromise is literally the same as failure then probably it is. For the rest of the entrepreneurs out there, it is important to appreciate the place of context in breaking down this issue.

There are entrepreneurs in Kenya whose aim is to follow the textbook path of a successful business. They wish to go from a small enterprise, attract investors at defined stages and ultimately cash out through an Initial Public Offering (IPO). This is one of the hardest things to pull off in life.

All the same, you may only wish to grow into a medium-sized enterprise that’s comfortable on its patch. With this freedom realized, you could go on to start successive small businesses with the goal that they end up similarly as a serial entrepreneur.

Further, some will end up satisfied to remain a small business that is dominant of its niche market. The win for them is securing regular income but avoiding the pressure and sacrifices brought on by business growth.

These personal preferences are rooted in our attributes and should be the context of deciding who is successful and who is not. Moreover, it’s also real mature to consider environmental circumstances. Who knows what effects our dysfunctional public education system has on all the young Kenyans out here? This is what it means when you say “you define your own success.”

We’ve seen how a study revealed that women entrepreneurs prefer taking a more holistic approach to drawing the red line of business failure. Women measure success by how well they balance both work and life, whereas even more studies show that men are very ready to compromise personal life to grow a business.

Still, don’t use the idea of defining your success to escape your failings. You have to set clear goals and go for them. Many make the mistake of living by lines like “under-promise, over-deliver” just so they can rationalize when they don’t work to their potential. Your goals influence your attitude and how much effort you put in.

What should be your next step when you do experience business failure? Some end up quitting completely, and others opt for the blame game to reassure their confidence and protect their credibility. Others spiral into a mindset of negativity. It can show by analyzing every little thing so you are perfect but this slows down your action. It can also show by being a cynic and literally expecting to fail – or not do as well.

You know what they say; you won’t be disappointed if you don’t expect anything.

What’s better is accepting that business failure is not a good thing but it is a normal thing. Feelings of anxiety and frustration can be a daily menu for entrepreneurs.

To bounce back, appreciate that business failure is often caused by a combination of different issues. Problems are caused by other problems. This allows you to rationally analyze problems and take responsibility where it was your mistake. After, you can use the lessons you’ve learnt to adapt and change as people say failure helps us to do.