Everyone experiences ‘failures’ in their life- when things don’t work, or go ‘your way.’ As an Entrepreneur- you’ll face countless obstacles, challenges, setbacks and putting it bluntly- crap! It’s inevitable, it’s part of business and growing a successful one is never easy. But what separates those who win, and those who quit- is how you look on it. Your attitude, your mindset. Failure may even be the making of you!
‘Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat…
And sure, it may be easier said than done. But remember, you’re not alone. How do we know? Well let’s share a few stories from some of the best…
Bill Gates: The richest person in the WHOLE WORLD. Yep, his first business failed. And it failed bad. The Traf-O-Data was a device that could read traffic tapes and process the data, yet when he went to sell it- the thing didn’t even work! Did Bill give up? Let it knock him down or defeat him? Of course not. In fact, his business partner -Paul Allen- later went on to explain that despite it not being the success they’d hoped for ‘it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.’ They learnt from their mistakes, and used it as fuel and knowledge to build bigger and better things. Talk about a winning mentality!
If we’re on the topic of failed companies….
Henry Ford: One of America’s foremost industrialists, Henry Ford revolutionised the car industry, founding Ford Motor Company and become the first to apply assembly line manufacturing for cars. He was one of the three most famous and richest men in the world because of this. Yet to begin with- his first two car companies failed and left him completely broke! However, he didn’t let it falter his confidence, which is why he was able to create the great legacy he has left behind today.
Colonel Sanders: This guy was in a similar place. Despite founding one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world -KFC- at the incredible age of 65, Colonel’s famous secret chicken recipe was rejected over a 1,000 times before a restaurant accepted it. Yep, he was a businessman of sheer grit and determination, also proving that age really is just a number and you should never give up on your dreams.
So who else do we have? Well-
Stephen King: best selling author and movie sensation… You don’t get where this guy is without being pretty damn good! Yet believe it or not, in the early days- he was constantly rejected by publishing houses and even threw his first book in the trash! It’s brutal, disheartening and incredibly tough, but did he let it stop him? No. He kept going despite the knock-backs and went on to sell over 350 million copies of his work.
Walt Disney: Similar to King, Walt was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Pfft, try telling that to kids now! Several more of his businesses failed before the premiere of his movie “Snow White” and I’m pretty sure we need no explanation to that! He went on to become the guy who redefined American childhood and made massive developments in the production of cartoons.
If we’re moving on to entertainment, one of the biggest recognised figures right now- you have to look no further than Mr Cowell. Love him or hate him, this guy is a role model for many….
Simon Cowell: Reality television judge and producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Simon is worth more than £300 million for his Syco Entertainment company, which has sold over 200 million albums and achieved 180 number one singles worldwide. Despite this, it certainly wasn’t an easy ride to get there. See, by his late twenties, Simon had made a million dollars but also lost a million dollars. Yep, how about that for a kicker! But he picked himself up, learnt from his mistakes and became one of the biggest forces in reality television.
We also have the likes of Richard Branson who had dyslexia and did poor at school- but despite low grades and ‘failures’ in education from an early age- he pushed through all the challenges and obstacles that came his way; becoming the fourth richest person in the UK! Albert Einstein also had a challenging childhood and didn’t even speak until the age of four. Yep, many people thought he would never make anything of himself and his head was just in the clouds… Who’d have known those clouds were whirling up genius concepts that would literally change the world! And let’s not forget Thomas Edison, who failed 1000 times before creating the light bulb. Yep one THOUSAND! His response to failure?
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Legendary… And the list could go on and on.
See, wherever you are right now: it does not matter. What matters is where you want to go, and what you are willing to do to get there. Don’t see setbacks as failures, see them as learning opportunities and have fun building yourself back up or working around them.
What’s the biggest mistakes you’ve made in business and how did you overcome them?