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Why Failure Is an Entrepreneur’s Best Friend

What does success mean to you?

by jcp

By: Gabriel Ciordas, CEO at Creatopy

Is it a number? Is it a feeling? Is it a specific place you want to be? The people you surround yourself with? Is it stability and security? Or thrill and excitement?

It is easy to find success. It is everywhere we look. Whether it is Bezos and the billionaire boys club racing to space, a groundbreaking IPO—or fresh and innovative leaders emerging in new sectors, these are all impressive feats achieved by ‘successful’ people.

But these aren’t the stories that should matter to entrepreneurs. High-profile successes are the tip of the iceberg. What matters most doesn’t make headlines. Entrepreneurs are not defined by their successes. They are forged by their failures.

Free From Fear of Failure

The Dalai Lama once said that we should “judge our success by what you had to give up in order to get it.” Successful entrepreneurs can see the wisdom in these words. Achievements are celebrated publicly—but sacrifices are made quietly every day.

Failure teaches us greater lessons than success ever can. When an entrepreneur fails, they learn more about their business, their customers—and most of all—themselves. Equally, you can learn from the failures of others in order to empower yourself to be able to navigate through a similar situation.

Yes, the success of Amazon and Tesla provide perspectives on what works. But looking at the likes of the Lehman Brothers, Blackberry, Blockbuster, AltaVista, Friends Reunited, and more, there are clear lessons to be learned to help avoid the fundamental issues faced by these brands.

Success comes from a willingness to embrace failure and learn iteratively. A great idea only becomes a great product or business through testing, failing and learning. Luckily for entrepreneurs who are brave enough to fail, there has never been a better moment to try.

The Epoch of Experimentation

The UK is Europe’s leading nation for innovation. In 2021, around eighty new businesses were launched every hour—attracting record-breaking levels of VC investment along the way.

How we work, shop, socialize and communicate has undergone a period of intense accelerated change. COVID has reshaped the landscape for consumers and businesses alike – and within these emerging behaviors lie opportunities. For example, in the creative industries, there has been a surging need for platforms that improve workflows as teams migrated from offices to WFH.

Entrepreneurs can unlock growth opportunities in this new landscape through experimentation. Testing and learning is the only way to create a product that solves genuine problems in the market. There has never been a better moment to throw ideas at a wall and see what sticks.

Leading Into the Unknown

Leaders and entrepreneurs must be brave and willing to experiment. But it is essential to recognize that part of this bravery is accepting that they do not have all the answers.

Accepting this helps manage expectations – both for your business and yourself. Opportunity and uncertainty go hand-in-hand. Leaders need to embrace the nature of this limbo and resist getting lost in the euphoria when things go well or drown in pessimism when things don’t work out. Having this flexible, balanced mentality empowers leaders to look beyond emotion and focus on solving customer needs.

Success can mean anything to anyone. But failure means everything to entrepreneurs. It is the foundation on which good businesses—and good leaders—are built.

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