If At First You Don’t Succeed…

November 5, 2018

As a commercial real estate company, we want to empower entrepreneurs. We want them to identify market opportunities, occupy great spaces, and enjoy long-term success. Unfortunately, statistics show that isn’t usually the case when it comes to start-ups and small businesses.

According to the Small Business Administration, only 80 percent of business ventures make it past the first year, and 50 percent still exist at five years. By the time 10 years have passed, only a third of small businesses are still in operation. These figures are tough to face as an entrepreneur, but they also provide insights into the risk – and reward – small businesses represent. If your business isn’t one of the profitable few that proceed beyond a decade, what can be gained?

Despite what you may think, business failures can increase the chances of future entrepreneurial success. These personal and professional challenges can build market expertise, provide guidance, spark inspiration and equip small business owners to take on a new challenge – but only if business owners respond to the setback appropriately.

Studies show that dwelling on a failure to the point that worry, anxiety and despair become your focus can impair overall personal performance and dampen problem-solving skills. Instead, it’s possible to rewire your brain and the way you think about failure. You can lessen the negative impact of the experience, and redirect your energy to finding the lessons in the situation. Choose optimism, work with a positive mindset, and use failure to prepare for the next opportunity.

A key step for any entrepreneur recovering from failure is to establish monetary and psychological stability. Find a consistent, reliable stream of income and build your savings back to ensure a strong foundation for the next venture. Take time to acknowledge the disappointment and discouragement associated with the setback, then find new motivation or inspiration that will drive you forward.

Next, review the events that contributed to your business failure. While the larger problems like cash flow shortages or client loss will be clear, try to discover the precipitating factors that led to those outcomes. Consider outside advice in this research, as you may lack the experience or perspective needed to identify the issues at play. It can also be helpful to explore the losses and lessons other entrepreneurs have documented through post-mortem reports compiled by the data-driven content and research platform, CB Insights.

With restored savings, renewed inspiration and relevant insights into the failure, you may be ready to start preparing for the next business opportunity. It’s important to branch out at this point, not only from past ventures, but also into new connections and networks. Attend networking events, and tap into other industry resources that could assist with your future goals. If you opt to pursue a more traditional career path, this could result in strong job leads. In an entrepreneurial setting, these efforts could uncover new funding sources or cross-promotional opportunities.

Finally, take stock of your most important assets. After a business failure, these may include your business team, strategic resources, vital documents and lessons learned from past experience. You can build upon the foundation they provide to determine the best path forward. Rebuilding or starting a business after a failure can keep your entrepreneurial spirit strong and give you the chance to show off what you’ve learned.

When you accept failure as part of an innovation process, you can turn stumbling blocks into the stepping stones that lead to your success. And, when the next venture takes off, remember that the professionals at Intelica Commercial Real Estate can help your business find the right space to land  – or expand.