Learning to fail: Startups aren’t really trying unless their failing

Your startup baby will fail at some point. Failure is natural. Its just like when you took your first steps. Failure is an inherent/systemic part of learning. The moment a baby tries to walk they will fall but they always get back up to try again. Will  you and your startup try again after  failing? Startup failures can be small or catastrophic. The thing is to overcome failures quickly. Lessons must be learnt. Otherwise the same failures will be repeated again and again. Failure will then become permanent.


Taking our first steps

Learning to fail from a startups first steps:

  1. Step 1 – Fail to trySome startups have  heaps of ideas but don’t actually implement a single one. Fear of failure may hold them back or they run out of enthusiasm as the reality of the challenge kicks in. Be prepared to fail.
  2. Step 2 – Fail & learn – Startups fail all the time. Small failures can be an unused feature or a poor marketing campaign.  Constant  small failures are an extremely important business lesson. Use them. An old friend calls it “the MBA of life”. We have to learn to be entrepreneur’s and innovate through failure.
  3. Step 3 – Learn & change – We are all at different levels of personal development. The important thing is to Know thyself. See your strengths and weaknesses. Learn to compensate weaknesses with others and let them bring out your strengths. VC’s and Angels look for well balanced teams for good reason.
  4. Step 4 -Try again – If a startup is not getting customer traction re-align the service or product around customers real needs. If the startup won’t or can’t change, quit and move on. Startups often fail to engage customer needs.
  5. Step 5 – Keep learning & trying –  Even when you have a successful startup pulling revenues ,  managing cash flow and  enjoying profits you have to  continue to  fail.  Any startup or mature business has to stay ahead of their competition. Successful Amazon boss Jeff Bezos still fails trying.

You and your startup aren’t really trying unless your failing. Failure does not mean taking all or nothing chances. Put yourself in a position where your experimenting with smaller manageable losses and keep trying. Churchill said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Related posts:

I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t realize it would be this hard.

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4 Responses to “Learning to fail: Startups aren’t really trying unless their failing”

  1. AJ Says:

    This is so true. I started something in college but I failed. I got kind of dejected. 4 years later here I am trying to get back on the wagon. I know what to do this time to keep going and not get down.

  2. Nick Barker Says:

    Hi AJ

    Thanks for the comment 🙂 I dropped out of college when I was younger. I failed to finish. However I went back and did an MBA two years ago. I’ve found in life if you don’t finish something it always seems to remain stuck in your mind.

    I found an interesting quote “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

    Good luck with your education, learning and money management.



  3. AJ Says:

    Thanks! 🙂

  4. Learning from big & small startups successes « Nickpoint Says:

    […] from big & small startups successes By Nick Barker Just as you and your startup needs to learn from failures you should also learn from success. This is not as easy as you think. The vast majority of startup […]

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