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So you've had your first business failure. What now?

We talk a lot about starting a business: how to do it, knowing your blind spots, how to pick a co-founder. But, what about learning how to deal with business failure?

by Jo Foster
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We talk a lot about starting a business: how to do it, knowing your blind spots, how to pick a co-founder. But, what about learning how to deal with business failure?

With almost 97% of startups exiting or failing to grow within the first three years of launch, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. That may not make your first business failure any less heart-breaking, but it doesn’t have to mean that there aren’t more opportunities out there waiting to come to life.

So, how exactly do you go about moving on from your first business failure? Here are some of our tips:
 

  • Allow yourself time to process. Watching your business fail can be a disheartening experience, and it’s important to honor that but also to understand that it doesn’t define you. Make sure that you have support around you and consider working with a counsellor or psychologist to process your emotions.
     
  • Learn from your mistakes. Once you’ve diffused the emotion from the situation, take a close look at your business – can you identify any mistakes? Keep in mind, it might actually be a combination of things, and they may not be super obvious. For example, perhaps there were some business blind spots or you were always chasing shiny new objects. Maybe your failed business was just missing a few entrepreneurial talents, like not taking action on ideas or a lack of focus on the financials. Now is a good time to work these out and you can find out your unique entrepreneurial strengths and weaknesses here.
     
  • Take a break. Not from work necessarily, but you might like to hit pause on creating your next business, and instead work for someone who inspires you. Or, if you’re not in the position to shuffle jobs, simply find a mentor who can get you back in the business mindset. Whatever it is, find a way to take the pressure off and reset so you can see the bigger picture and think about your next move.
     
  • Start dreaming up your next opportunity. When former Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Nyree Corby’s first business failed and went into receivership, she didn’t lose hope. Instead she saw a gap in the market around women’s online fashion and got serious about raising capital to start her next business. The result? A company that has experienced 400% growth year-on-year.
     
  • Keep an ideas bank. Play a game with yourself where you try to come up with at least three new ideas every day. They don’t have to be business ideas and they don’t even have to be good! The key is that you can start to look at launching a businesses as an enjoyable ‘game’ to play (and one that you plan on winning!)
     

Ready to get back in the game? Start on the right foot by knowing your entrepreneurial strengths and start dreaming of your next big move.

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