Every small business owner faces failure at some point in his or her lifetime. Whether it is a missed opportunity to land a huge client, the creation of a business plan that falls flat on its face, or some other “tragedy,” failures seem to be lurking around every corner. However, contrary to how it sometimes feels, it is possible to turn small business failures into successes.
To help you (and I) do that, I reached out to Liz Nead, speaker and coach at Nead Inspiration and host of Fox TV’s Life Dare. Liz currently spends her days helping other small business owners push past their obstacles and create the life and business they dream of, “failures” and all.
Here are some thoughts she uses with her clients that she has graciously shared with me to ultimately share with you:
Listen and Learn From the Process, Not Just the Outcome
Nowadays a lot of people use the words “success” and “failure” to describe an outcome, but Liz suggests you look at it another way. “It’s not about the outcome; it’s about the experience,” she says. So, instead of focusing solely on the one thing you want to happen as a result of all of your efforts, concentrate primarily on the journey that you take to get you there.
“Everything you try gives you data,” Liz says. “As long as you take that data and move forward with it, it empowers you to make better choices.” Choices that will ultimately get you where you want to be.
Sometimes we are discouraged by the “overnight successes” that we hear about, but the reality is that there is no such thing—not in business, parenting, marriage, getting in shape, or anything else that really matters in life. Keep this in mind when you feel as if you’re not getting the results you want fast enough. Often you have to work at things over and over and over again to get them at the level you want.
The Real “Failure” Is Not Trying Anything
How many times have you not tried something with your business solely because you didn’t think you would be successful with it? To approach your professional or personal life in this matter doesn’t really protect you from failure as Liz says “the real failure is not trying anything.”
Imagine what life would be like if everyone avoided doing things simply because they feared failure. Sporting events would become nonexistent because the players would fear that they’d never be good enough. Your favorite stores and businesses would also likely close because their owners would worry that they don’t have what it takes to be a success.
“Failure is not the end of the world,” Liz reminds us. It doesn’t kill you or otherwise end your life. Sure, it may feel like it at times, but that thought is just a thought or perception. The only way to make it a reality is to give up entirely and choose to walk away from your dreams.
Overcoming the Failure Mindset
One piece of advice that Liz offers when it comes to overcoming a failure-based mindset is to ask yourself whether you really believe in what you are offering. “If you do, you’ll find a way to make it work.” In that sense, failure isn’t even an option because you’re not going to stop until you arrive at your desired destination, even if it looks different than what you originally thought.
Also, know that “your consumer tells you what success is.” Therefore, if something isn’t working, as long as you listen to them and make changes based on the information you receive, you’ll know what actions to take to grow your business better and stronger. Social media is a great place to gather this type of data as you can find pretty much everything you need to know on these types of platforms.
A final word from Liz:
“I believe in the ebb and flow of things. Success is not a straight line. It has peaks and valleys, and you have to know the difference between a real stop and a plateau that will move you to higher levels.”
So, what do you say? Are you ready to push forward past your plateaus (not failures) and get to that higher level, removing the word “failure” from your vocabulary? I hope so. I am too!
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