To say you were excited would be an understatement. You were going into business with an entrepreneur smile, and an entrepreneur dream. Yours was the best idea ever! It would fill a niche, and make life easier for everyone. As for you, riches heretofore untold are on the way.
You took your time and made sure that your technicals and financials were in the best shape you could make them. No one could say you weren’t ready, and hard work is something you relish! Finally, the big day arrived. You couldn’t sleep the night before. You just knew that the moment you opened the door (or powered-up the website), people were bound to jump at the chance. The question was “how many?” In the back of your mind, you wondered if you had enough. Was there sufficient product or ample bandwidth? Goodness knows you didn’t want to run out. This was to be your “Ta-da” moment in time.
It didn’t turn out as you thought it would. I mean, at all! There was plenty of inventory and more than ample bandwidth because a precious few people bought what you were selling. Your idea was fine in theory and a dog on the market. Your big idea was to go down in history as part of 50.5 percent of new business ventures that didn’t succeed between the autumn of 2013 and this week.
After closing the doors for the last time, you’re devastated and hopeless. Where can you go from this lower than Death Valley point in your life?
First off, a good deal of emotional healing is called for, and you have to find your own best route toward it. Everyone has her/his specific requirements toward that end. For some, time with family, friends, or a favorite group can be valuable time spent. Others will want to take time off from everyone to try and rediscover the inner fire. Choose your way, because neither route is a wrong one, and both routes have much to offer during this difficult time in your professional life.
Try thinking about this while healing. Apple founder Steve Jobs was summarily kicked out of the company. He spent a long time wandering through European back roads, looking for the motivation to carry on. Remembering his journey may help you along the way.
Eventually, it will come time for the post-mortem of your last attempt. This is when it’s important to carefully review events leading to the initial failure of your entrepreneur dream. (I say “initial” because I know you’ll get back up, even though you may not yet know it.)
You’ll immediately find some obvious factors in your demise. Perhaps a critical client didn’t pan out. Or, maybe the startup capital just wasn’t sufficient. Whatever you find, it’s of utmost importance for you to study contributing factors. Using our example, you probably needed more than a single major client. Ample liquidity is a key to any business startup. This kind of inner, problem-solving, dialogue will help you gain peace, all the while teaching lessons that will go far in helping you to build your next entrepreneurial venture.
As part of your process, you may discover that you’re too intimately bound up in the business to see its demise with clear eyes. That’s, okay. Your passion was admirable, but consider seeking advice from someone you trust. You should get together with a mentor or even a veteran entrepreneur. Either can provide valuable support and guidance. Like in the healing piece, find the route that suits you, and your personality type. Only then can you move to the next step.
After regaining stability, both emotional and financial, you’re ready for a new opportunity, but you need to ask the man or woman in the mirror an important question. Is being an entrepreneur the right thing for you? Or is a traditional career a better idea? It should go without saying that there is no right answer for everyone. Tens of thousands of people flow in and out of entrepreneurship every year.
Whatever choice you make, branch out! Attend network events. Talk to people who are in your industry. This will lead to opportunities for employment if that is your chosen path. It can also introduce you to investors and potential partners that can help make your entrepreneurship a winner.
Wherever your work life leads, hear this from Gildshire. Don’t take that first failure personally. It doesn’t define you. For many entrepreneurs, the lessons learned from initial failure leads onward to success!