Sometimes the numbers just don’t work out. Every so often economic forces line up and work against you. Occasionally life happens and that perfect string of health you’ve had gets interrupted by a few weeks/months of illness. The point is this; sometimes even with the best planning, your new business can fail. It hurts. It stings. It can even leave you evaluating your intelligence and self worth. But we’re here to tell you something; you can start over IF you can muster the courage to try again.
We’ve all heard that Benjamin Franklin failed numerous times before he finally “discovered” electricity. While we hope you don’t have numerous failures as you attempt to start your dream business, we can say that you sometimes have to try more than once to achieve success. So if you’ve had some setback(s) in round one, here are some tips on making round two better:
Have a short pity party and then move on. The one thing that leads to achieving your goals in this world is action. Feeling sorry for yourself is acceptable, but you can’t let it get in the way of you moving forward. In sports, athletes are usually allowed a brief moment to reflect on a loss and then they must move on. One water bottle. One time out. One down. You get the point. So for the “failed” entrepreneur you get a brief minute to feel sorry for yourself. Once that minute is up, no more looking back okay? Simply focus on doing what it takes for you to become a “successful” entrepreneur.
Figure out what went wrong. In the financial analysis world we often get to “geek out” on all the information at our disposal. This is good in that it provides a ton of insight into how a business operates and intersects different points. It can be bad if you let it lead to paralysis by analysis and never work to either 1) start your business or 2) truly address what is going wrong. So if your first attempt didn’t go as planned, we recommend talking a look at where it went off the tracks. Didn’t keep financials? Please make sure you do this second time around. But if you did, try and pinpoint what the downfall was (e.g. lack of adequate marketing, poor ordering habits, low pricing, etc) and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Seek outside advice on what could be changed. When you create a company you are supposed to elect a board. Even if you are a company of me, myself and I, you should put together a panel of advisors that you can turn to for advice. These people, hopefully some who are familiar with your industry, can help guide you through some of those pitfalls and perils of starting up a company. Don’t have access to a board? Then put together a talented team of professionals (e.g. accountant, attorney, consultant) who can look at what is going on and give you recommendations. Hey, the advice of a GOOD professional is often worth their invoice a thousand times over in the long run.
Put together a new/realistic plan on how to start again. So once you’ve received the advice on what can be improved, you should sit down and create your plan for the next venture. Take a look at the original business plan you had and compare that to what actually happened. Look for gaps and figure out how to address them. For example, if you thought spending $4,500 in marketing a month would get you 100 new customers each month, but it only got you 65, then make sure you adjust your sales forecast in your new plan. The point is to make sure that your new plan is as closely aligned to reality as possible. This will then allow you to see if your new venture stands a chance at success AND when you should expect to see the signs that things are working.
Get going – this is the key to any failure. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Okay. So you’ve figured out what went wrong, got some advice on what should/could be changed and have dusted your ego off. So now what? Get back out there and try again! We all can relate to being a kid and falling off our bike. What was the recommendation? Get back on as soon as possible; the longer you wait the more gun-shy you’ll become. The same goes for a failed venture. Once you’ve got yourself in a position to do it again, go ahead and pull the trigger. Delaying the date you start only delays how fast you get to success.