You’ve probably read the stories already. Entrepreneurs fail—a lot. Many well-known names were failures the first time. The late Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple, was fired from the company he created, then started a new computer company, which was close to bankrupt before Apple purchased it, and brought Jobs back.
Henry Ford started the Detroit Automobile Co. in 1899 which shut its doors not long after because the cars were too expensive and of low quality.
There are plenty of stories like that. Entrepreneurs fail but the ones who later went on to be pioneers used those failures to make their next endeavor even better.
When you talk about your first attempt, what do you say? Do you blame it on the economy, having the wrong people on your team, customers not understanding you? There might be good reasons for your failure, but what investors, partners, and co-workers really want to hear is that you take responsibility.
If you take responsibility for your mistakes that says you reflected on the failure and learned from it. You understand that regardless of the circumstances, you are ultimately in control of your success. An investor who hears that is much more likely to believe in your ability to score a win this time around.
Don’t Forget About Past Relationships
So, your first attempt at starting a business failed. Now that you’re building a new business, are you going to forget about your past contacts? Regardless of the nature of your new endeavor, there are contacts from your last business that produced revenue for you. They may have many professional contacts in the community, and they can provide valuable insight into what didn’t work in your first endeavor. They might be your most valuable resource.
“What you build up when you start a company is a network of people–investors, vendors and suppliers,” says Shikhar Ghosh, Harvard Business School professor.
Realign Your Goals
If you started your first business to make money that might be why it failed. Entrepreneurs first love what they do. They believe that they have a mission to make positive changes in their field. They’re energized by making a difference. They value the relationships they build and know that building a business takes a long time, long hours, a lot of patience, and numerous hard times.
If you’re in it only for the money, you might have made choices that worked for the short term but didn’t build the business over the long term. Those who think only of the money burn out when the money doesn’t quickly flow in.
The fact is, the money won’t flow in fast. It may takes years of hard work and the only thing that will sustain you is your love of the business, your customers, and employees.
The second time, make it your goal to build a business independent of the money. Remember to make time for your family and personal growth. Above all, commit to being open to new ideas.
Some of what worked the first time will serve you well this time but doing exactly what you did before will only achieve the same results.