When Entrepreneurs get Real about their Failures

It’s okay to make mistakes; however, it is imperative to learn from them. Many entrepreneurs like to talk about their successes, but only a few admit their failures. Mistakes do happen, but this does not mean they need to slow down your momentum. Still, it’s time entrepreneurs get real about their failure to equip themselves for a better path forward. With all this said, with entrepreneurship comes risk. If you make it, the rewards can be excellent. However, you will discover that certain efforts do not bring success when you fail.

Lesson 1

Stay open and stay agile. You want to scale your business, and you put in a great deal of effort. You attend networking events such as trade shows, and your business development team works hard to promote your brand. Then you get a break: a large business shows interest in your brand. You can feel it at that point – you have made it. This is what happened to Mary Young. Young owned the Canada-based women’s underwear and loungewear, Mary Young. Mary broke a deal with Nordstrom, America’s luxury department store chain. However, Nordstrom’s legal department found an error with Mary Young’s product labels. This would have meant a total recall and loss of the business relationship with Nordstrom. Young researched the matter and found it legal to remove the labels and replace them with printed stickers reflecting the correct info on the price tags. Young had assumed that the rules in Canada were equally applied in the United States. Notwithstanding, smart thinking and the ability to innovate can win the day.

Lesson 2

Onwards and upwards. It’s a fairytale thinking to believe that successful businesses thrived of their own accord and grew quite effortlessly. Things do go wrong. Markets fluctuate, and clients are not all 100% loyal to a brand. Sometimes, it takes several failures to reach success. You might finally pitch your products to investors. You may feel that it’s time to give up. However, one day, that silver lining appears – look at Gregory MacDonald from Bathorium. The entrepreneur received a big break when Bathorium’s products appeared on Good Morning America’s Deals & Steals segment. The team started to prepare for massive orders. Bathorium had 22,000 kg of development at their Chicago-based fulfillment center. Of this 22,000 kg of product, the company sold 85%. That was 7000 clients buying their products. The problem came in that Bathorium had neglected to determine the market they were selling to. Deals & Steals’ clientele were merely bargain shoppers, not loyalists. More so, only five clients returned. The result was that the stock in their fulfillment center wasn’t moving, and the costs for rent and payroll did not stop. Bathorium was heading to a disaster. Bathorium sold its piled-up stock at a discount to the right clients. The lesson is that sometimes things go south. Keep that in mind.

Lesson 3

Ideas and plans can fail; however, you are not a failure. Especially if a business is a privately owned venture, the risk is there that you would end up mixing business with pleasure. When things turn, they can become personal. You may have been busy for years with your side hustle, like your clothing brand, while still working at your regular job. Things are going well for you, and you are making the money you want. But then things change – your chilled manager leaves and is replaced by someone new. Someone implements drastic changes, including bringing in project managing apps to boost productivity. You are caught working at your side hustle during office hours, are fired, and go full-time with your clothing venture. However, now you lack the income from your regular job, so you get a partner, possibly your real-life partner, to take 30% of your business. Then, six months later, they leave you: you feel like a failure. A year on, things turn. You receive a new contract to supply a fashion department store. Things are looking better. The point is – yes, you make dumb decisions, but such random decisions do not make you a failure.

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