Learning from Your Business Mistakes

There’s no getting around making mistakes in life, let alone in small business. The smart entrepreneurs among us take their mistakes and turn them into valuable lessons that help them succeed down the road. The rest of us? Well, we dwell on the mistakes and use them as excuses not to succeed. Here’s how you can be one of the former.

1 Pay Attention to Others’ Mistakes

The best way to learn from mistakes is not to make them; let someone else do that. There are thousands of case studies, books, articles, and blog posts that discuss mistakes other business owners have made. If you can identify with that person, you’ll be more likely to take the lesson learned and avoid making the same mistake yourself.

Ask your mentor if you have one what mistakes he made on his path to success, and what he’d do differently. Share your concerns about your business with him and see what advice he can provide to keep you from making your own mistakes.

2. Own Up to the Mistake

When you make a mistake, the best thing you can do for your business and yourself is to admit to having made it. No one expects you to be perfect except yourself, and denying that you made the wrong call will only hurt your business. Instead, take full responsibility and consider how you could have avoided the mistake.

3. Ask Yourself “Why?”

Knowing why you made the mistake is key in helping you learn from it. Were you exhausted when you made the ill-fated decision? Understaffed? Unsure what you should do? Knowing why you made the mistake can help you make better choices next time and find the necessary support to help you be better informed.

4. Be Better Prepared

So many mistakes could be avoided with more planning and strategy. Don’t jump into business decisions without the right information, and don’t be afraid to ask employees for their insight on the decision. Having a solid business and marketing plan can help you avoid costly mistakes; simply ask yourself whether making this decision will keep you in line with your overall business strategy. If not, it could derail you from the direction you want to go.

You will make mistakes in your business. The best you can do is expect to make them and work to learn from them and bounce back quickly.

To find out the 5 Disastrous Decisions that Destroy Small Business, please attend our free webinar October 9, 2012 at 2 pm Eastern.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as MashableSmall Business TrendsCorpNet and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr

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