May 12, 2011
Running a business is hard. It takes a special type of person to run a business. Not only do you need to be technically competent at what you do, you also need to be able to be your own boss and you need to become really good at a wide range of other business skills like marketing .. and failure.
As I’m a marketing consultant you might expect me to push the fact you need marketing skills. But I’m afraid it doesn’t start and stop with marketing. I can teach you all the marketing skills you need .. but there is more to it than that.
The reality is you need something more. You need to feel comfortable with being an entrepreneur and learn some skills that most business people refuse to talk about …. something they don’t teach you on most business courses, something that is never taught in schools or colleges.
The first thing to learn about is that it is OK to fail. When I went to school it was quite competitive, we were encouraged to succeed. We were told that if we failed our exams we would go into dead end jobs.
Of course, in its own right that is good advice. But it does condition people to fear failure.
The fear of failure is something that holds a lot of people back in business. Of course it often acts at a deep psychological level and people don’t realise it is happening but it actually stops a lot of people ever finishing projects .. in case they fail.
The difference between millionaires and the rest of us mere mortals is that they approach failure in a different way. They know that failure is more common than success. So, knowing this, they move projects forward as rapidly as possible so that they can get pass the “Pass/fail point”. If they succeed they build on that success and if they fail they learn lessons and move straight on to the next step.
One person that has failed countless numbers of times is billionaire Richard Branson. Huge numbers of his projects have failed. The thing is he has failed moved on and made millions then billions. Not bad for a failure. I recently heard Richard say, “ If you don’t make a mistake, you don’t make anything.”
Richard Branson isn’t the only business entrepreneur to make countless mistakes, the list is very long. The lesson for us mere mortals to learn is that falling is part of the process to success and the quicker we get pass the mental block that failure is bad the quicker we will succeed.