Being an entrepreneur is tough. In fact, it’s one of the hardest and scariest things you can do in your life. You could likely go as far as to say that most entrepreneurs aren’t even entrepreneurs. They are people who blame external factors for their failure instead of taking responsibility. But here is another fact: Entrepreneurs succeed.
Every single day, successful startup companies are being created from scratch and billions of pounds in revenue are generated by those companies. This means that there are a lot of lessons to be learned from successful enterprises, but also from mistakes that failed ones made.
The lessons are
Learn to say no
You have to learn to say no. No to potential clients, no to investors, no to even good employees. It’s not just about learning which opportunities to pass on, it’s about knowing when you’re in over your head and being able to admit that instead of going down with your business.
You have to be willing to walk away from any deal or decision that you know might hurt the company in the long run.
This can be hard for a founder because you don’t want to miss out on any chance at growth. But having the discipline of saying “no” can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Failure is a learning experience
Failing, especially in the startup world, gets a bad reputation. But failure isn’t something to regret and it isn’t something that should be considered a negative experience. Failure is actually an opportunity to learn and grow as a person and as a business.
When we fail, we often think of it as the end of the road. We’re defeated and we want to give up. But this is the worst thing you can do when you fail at something in your business or personal life.
Embracing failure is how you grow as an individual, but it’s also how your business grows too. When you fail, you learn what works and what doesn’t work. You find out where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are, both personally and professionally.
It’s important to know the difference between failure and defeat
Failure and defeat are two different things. Failure is the result of trying to do something. Defeat is accepting failure and doing nothing about it.
It’s easy to fail. It’s easy to think you’ve failed, too. But if you’re the type of entrepreneur that doesn’t believe in giving up, you might be able to turn failure into success.
When you start a company or a project, there are two ways in which things can go wrong: You can try something and it won’t work out, or you can give up and not try at all. The first is a failure; the second is defeat.
Failure is part of the process of being an entrepreneur. You have to accept that not everything will work out and that your plan may need to change when things don’t go your way. Defeat is what happens when you fail but give up instead of doing something about it.
Build something people want before you get funding
The worst thing you can do is to try to get funding before you’ve built something that people want, or at least started the process of getting feedback from end-users. You should be trying to build a great product before you go off and start raising money.
Startups are usually hard work, and if you go into it thinking there’s an easy way out with big funding round, you’ll most likely fail. It’s very important to be realistic about what your goals are and how long they might take to achieve.
By building something people want and interacting with customers early on in the process, you’ll learn more about your startup than anything else. This will help you develop an idea of the size of business you could have, which will then help you determine the amount of money that you need to raise for your next phase.
You have to give credit to the startup founders who can admit their own mistakes. It takes guts to say, “this is something we thought was a great idea, but it wasn’t.” I doubt that these guys say this to be modest; they probably just want to make sure that others don’t repeat their mistakes. And the rest of us can all learn from them.