One of the biggest factors holding back new and aspiring entrepreneurs is the fear of failure.
The reality is that the vast majority of successful entrepreneurs have, at one point or another, failed at some kind of business challenge. Personally, I have had more business failures than business successes, and even in the successful businesses, I can reflect on countless mistakes and failures along the way.
Failure should not be perceived as an end to the entrepreneurial journey, but rather a meaningful and beneficial part of it, and when accepted and embraced, failure can help you find the confidence to start and find your groove.
Here are six honest truths about failure you should know.
If you have ever had your heart broken, you know that recovery is long and painful. What heartbreak does, however, is helps you shape your understanding and appreciation for those to whom you open your heart.
Failure is very similar. Without failing from time to time, you can never understand what success truly looks like.
Most entrepreneurs venture out because of an insatiable thirst for knowledge and desire to reach their full potential. Entrepreneurs are the type of people who must touch the handle of the frying pan, even after countless warnings about it being hot — because they want to know for themselves.
This curiosity leads us to seek out answers and take more risks, all of which naturally lead to failure (and burn blisters) through trial and error.
One of the most important — and least recognized — considerations is that failure means that you tried. Compare to those who never try, and as long as you are learning along the way, entrepreneurs become more valuable with each and every failure.
Personal pride aside, the reality is that nobody wants you to fail in your endeavor. All stakeholders, from lenders to vendor to customers, all have a vested interest in your business and your success. If you have developed strong relationships through honesty and transparency, most of your partners will work with you through difficult times. Mutual success benefits everyone involved.
Failure should never be confused with quitting. Failure is a roadblock. Quitting is when you stop trying altogether.
To use the heartbreak analogy again, if you have had your heart broken more than once, then you know that each disappointment gets a little easier to accept and get over. In fact, more experience with heartbreak and disappointment helps you get better at managing the process as a whole. Entrepreneurship is no different, and most serial entrepreneurs I know see failure as just another disappointment.
If the fear of failure has been keeping you from pursuing your entrepreneurial aspirations, just understand that failure is one of the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial journey. If you learn from it, manage it, and understand how it can make you better, it is also one of the most beautiful and inspiring aspects.