Has your start-up hit a rough patch? Maybe you have lost your biggest customer or maybe brand loyalty wasn’t there. Whatever the reason, seeing your business falling apart is heartbreaking. You pour your heart and soul into the endeavour with a hope to make it the next big thing. But when the odds are just not in your favour, the worst professional nightmare happens—you see your business dream shattering into pieces.
The pain of startup failure cuts deep and every encouraging word seems meaningless when your house is on the line and your several years and millions of pounds are in minus. You start envisioning people laughing at you saying, “I said that you would never make it, didn’t I?” The feeling of fear and embarrassment raises its head every time another bill hits the inbox and you start to think—maybe you aren’t cut out for this.
Yet, however improbable it may feel at the time, the harsh truth is—you have two choices at the moment. Either you keep mourning over the failed business or dust yourself off and dive back in again to make it right this time around. If you have chosen the second path, here are few strategies to help you out.
See Failure as an Option Not an Ending
Do you know Walt Disney couldn’t pay his rent at one point and was living on dog food? And it might be surprising but Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985 and even Bill Gates, the most successful businessman in history tasted failure with his first company, called Traf-O-Data. Then how did these entrepreneurs overcome their failure and swing back strong? They had a knack for seeing failure as an opportunity or challenge. Failure definitely isn’t the end of the world. Indeed, it is a part of the entrepreneurial journey that will lead those to success who don’t give up. So the first step to overcome the failure is to start seeing it as an option, not the ending.
Make Efforts to Restore or Refund Loans
The huge financial loss after a failed venture is the major source of grave concern that stops you from moving on. So, if your business was loan funded, make efforts to restore or refund the loan. Spend some time in analyzing your expenses and figuring out a new line of revenue. Develop a well laid out plan for payment and get your finances in order. And once you officially shut things down, just relax and do nothing for 1 week. Rest, reflect and gather up your energy before thinking about your next step.
Pinpoint Where Things Went Wrong
Now that your mind is rejuvenated, it’s time to take an introspective look at your business journey and figure out where things went wrong. As Bill Gates once said, “it is fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Look at the failure analytically. What led you to failure? Was the failure beyond your control? Did you follow the wrong approach? After collecting all these facts, ask yourself—“what did I learn from this?” and figure out how you can apply this newfound insight going forward.
Determine Your Next Move
Next, you need to make the big decision— whether you want to restart the same venture again or want to start something new. If you want to stick to the same idea, that’s great. Think about a better way to accomplish the vision and make further research using your prior mistakes as key points. Then, when you’re ready to take the plunge again, you can start fresh and stand a better chance of not lumbering your new business with the old business’s liabilities.
However, if you want to go with a fresh new idea, brainstorm, attend more networking events, expose yourself to more entrepreneurs and ask about their experience. Thus, you’ll get some new perspectives and you will learn new ways to deal with the problems you faced in your last venture. Throw your ego away and let people help you as you are not going to get any extra points for doing it on your own.
Lay the Groundwork
When you find a million-dollar idea, it’s hard to resist the urge to dive right into the deep end. But don’t jump right in and take time to observe changes and progress. This is where every past lesson you learned will be put to test and hence laying the groundwork is crucial before moving from the drawing board to the work table.
It might sound odd or somewhat paranoid or negative but planning for worst-case scenarios in prior is a smart move. You need to understand that preparing yourself for failure and thinking that you’re going to fail are two completely different things. While the thought that you are going to fail is discouraging enough to curtail your growth, planning for failure is about being practical about all the possible outcomes.
There is no magic formula to get you back on your feet instantly. Your new venture will need time and continuous efforts to show signs of growth. Be patient and don’t give up. Now that you know how to approach failure, go ahead and take your swings.