The 5-Step Formula for Addressing Failure

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The 5-Step Formula for Addressing Failure

As a profit coach, one of the most common questions I get asked is, what if I fail?

In fact, I was talking with a new business owner who was kind enough to elaborate on her fear of failure. “What will I do if this doesn’t work? I have young children, a mortgage, and other bills to think about”, she said.

These are legitimate fears that many business owners have, particularly those who are in the very early stages of building a business and feel as if they are taking such enormous risks prior to tasting any real success.

Perhaps you also struggle with a crippling fear of failure. Fortunately, we don’t have to view failure as the enemy, nor should we. Failure is a necessary step toward building any successful business. The reality is that all of the most successful businesses have failed, and have failed many times at that!

So, as a business owner, you should expect failure at some point. Rather than dwelling on the daunting and debilitating “what if”, however, shift your focus toward using failure for the betterment of your business.

Thomas Edison: A Case Study in Failure

19th-century American inventor Thomas Edison famously tried to invent the light bulb countless times before he ultimately succeeded. One of his most well-known quotes was in response to his many failures:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

This is also true of your own failures. If you can identify and weed out the methods and strategies that don’t work for your business, you will be that much closer to finding the winning formula.

Thomas Edison produced a gold mine of quotes regarding failure. Here is another one of my personal favorites:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

In other words, failure is inevitable, but those who persist will find that success is also inevitable. As long as you’re willing to exercise patience and use each failure to improve your business, success is never too far away.

Don’t throw in the towel too early!

What If You Fail? Stick to This 5-Step Formula

So, how do you not only navigate failure but also harness it to improve your business in the process? Follow this simple five-step formula.

1. Do What You Believe Will Work

While it may sound overly simple, the first step is to actually do something. Indecision is the worst kind of failure, as it doesn’t yield any measurable results. In other words, you can’t learn something from nothing!

So, naturally, the first step is to do what you believe will work for your business. Commit to a specific course of action and see it through to completion.

2. Make an Assessment

Once you have acted on your plan and are able to measure some of your work, make a complete assessment — noting any “micro” successes and failures that occurred along the way.

You will find that there are different aspects of your plan that were successful and others that were not so successful.

3. Change What Didn’t Work

After identifying some of your successes and failures, keep the things that worked and discard the things that didn’t work — replacing those failures with new solutions. Now, integrate those solutions into your method or strategy.

4. Try Again

With a few key changes in place, it’s time to take action again. These changes will likely produce more successes and failures, and guess what? That is perfectly OK — stick with it!

5. Repeat Steps 1 – 4

You should keep attempting, assessing, changing, and trying again whenever you’re working on your business.

While this cycle will produce plenty of failures, identifying those failures and learning from them will eventually lead you down a path of success.

Fail Until You Don’t!

The only way to eliminate failure is to simply continue failing until you don’t. While failure can be discouraging at the time or for a season, the invaluable lessons it yields will only help you improve your business, products, and services down the road.

Work hard, fail often, learn from those failures, and keep going until you find that which works best for you and your business!