Failure Is Part Of Success: An Entrepreneur’s Guide To A Successful Strategy

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Failure is not necessarily bad - it can be taken as a guideline to a more successful strategy. Entrepreneurs using failure as guideline are able to create win-win situations for both parties and maximize their benefits.

I am fond of the phrase, “If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t trying hard enough.”

And here’s the best proof of what can happen as long as one isn’t afraid of making a mistake. Take it from some of the most successful in their field over the last century:

  • Steve Jobs, co-founder of the original Apple computer, who was fired from the firm.
  • Thomas Edison, inventor, who had 10,000 failed trials with his light bulb.
  • Stephen Spielberg, movie director, went solo after being rejected three times from the University of California.
  • Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, both college-dropouts, went on to….well you know what.

In elementary school, kids are taught the value of participation not only in the classroom, but in the outfield. However, as we get older, winning seems to be everything. Greed, competition, doing so at all cost, not willing to take risks, and not sharing solutions with our colleagues. But here’s the thing: in business, there’s this “zero-sum game” theory which states that for one to win, another must lose. It’s the idea behind most sports, but it shouldn’t be the idea behind business. My point is that when one is in business, making situations a win-win can be possible.

For example, I was once charged with implementing the sale of a complicated business that was losing money and not a part of our key strategy. Our chairman made a deal with the buyer at dinner which only included the price and the instructions to do it as fairly and quickly as possible. We came back the next day with lots of information about where we could increase our profit which was just as important as the purchase price. He and the buyer simply said “don’t bother us, just find fair solutions.” That guidance forced both parties to resolve numerous issues quickly and fairly, and complete a transaction that truly benefited both parties.

A Variety Of Tools To Make Situations More Win-Win:

Goals And Needs

The simplest technique is to understand the needs and goals of your partners in a relationship. In particular, ask and understand the importance of price, service, quality, and reliability in that relationship. The mindset behind buying a car is a far different than buying a cheap umbrella in a sudden downpour.

Increase The Value Of The Total Rewards

A simple tool to increase the pie is to try out different strategies in pricing, how the product is delivered, and its quality. If these strategies are a cooperative decision, then as a group, modifications can be made as needed. Everyone wins!!

Restructure The Relationship

If you communicate with your partners, then lots of win-win consequences can occur. In my own experience, sharing forecasts, production plans, inventory quantities, and the like, is one of the easiest and most inexpensive tools with the greatest of outcomes.

Be More Open

Organizations need to be open to measurement and feedback. Observing, understanding and sharing financials, operations reports, and sales reports are the first step. Simple research studies that social media can provide are tools to use regularly. A management style such as the “walk around” and asking simply, “how are you doing, is there anything you need?” can be priceless.

Open Communication

You need a commitment to open communication. One of the investors on the “Shark Tank “TV program had simple advice for an entrepreneur who wouldn’t stop talking: Stop talking and listen!

In summary, we need to change the paradigm of win-lose to win-win. That requires that we take different perspectives, encourage innovation (embracing mistakes that may arise) and improve communications with suppliers, colleagues, customers, and, yes, even competition.


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