There’s nothing fun about watching your business fail. If your foray into owning your own company fell flat, you’re probably feeling pretty disheartened. However, there are ways to carry on and, if you want, try again. Here’s a look at how you can process your feelings, apply what you’ve learned, and embrace your future after a business failure.
Don’t Let Fear Win
Many people sitting in the wake of a failed business would truly like to try again, but are afraid to risk a second failure. Even if your first venture in the business world was a bad fit, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful the next time around. If you have another idea, don’t let fear stop you. You can learn from it and let it guide you, but fear does not have to rule you and hold you back.
You can use your fear productively; after all, it might be teaching you something. For example, you might find that you’re fearful of hiring the wrong people. Maybe your first business failed, in part, due to rushing into the wrong team. As Psychology Today explains, this fear is valid and useful, and you should use it as an indication that you should alter your approach.
For instance, rather than diving into hiring staff, consider instead the benefits of starting small with freelance help. Once the work is complete, and since neither you nor they are obligated to continue the relationship, it could be a lower-stakes way to build your team and test people out. If they’re a good fit, you might consider offering them full-time work down the line and making them a permanent part of your team. Allowing yourself to learn from your concerns instead of being paralyzed by them becomes an invaluable business tool.
Reassess Your Finances
If you haven’t done so already, take some time to go over your finances and analyze your situation. Many business owners put this off as long as possible, anxious that the result will confirm their worst fears—that they are at rock bottom and have no resouces available. However, the opposite is often true. Usually, the concrete figure is much easier to cope with than whatever you’re imagining. If you want to put together a solid game plan, a few sessions with Coach Connell can ensure you’re on the right financial footing.
Allow Yourself to Grieve Your Business Failure
Whether you’re moving on to another project or not, it’s important to give yourself permission to grieve your first business. This is a loss, just like any other. Even setting aside the financial concerns (which are valid all on their own), the failure of something into which you’ve poured hopes, dreams, and energy creates massive emotional strain.
Holding onto these kinds of huge, negative feelings can have serious emotional—and even physical—consequences. If you’re having trouble letting those feelings out, consider setting yourself a time and a place designed for this process. Even as little as an hour spent allowing yourself to just be sad about it all will lighten your emotional load.
Slowly Put the Pieces Into Place
Like most entrepreneurs, busy is your baseline. This means if you’re contemplating a new business, your mind is rapid-fire coming up with lengthy to-do lists. When this happens, make a point to tap the brakes a bit. Rather than a full-on ramp up, opt for baby steps.
As you move to create something new, starting small can be the better way to get your business off the ground, and it can save you from unnecessary expenses. For example, rather than running out to find new and pricey office space, carve out a dedicated spot at home where you can plan and strategize. Instead of launching a major marketing initiative right off the bat, tone it down a bit. You can test the waters with a small email marketing campaign or through social media. Being deliberate in your actions will pave the way for a stronger foundation for your new business.
Picking up the pieces may be difficult, even agonizing. But there’s a light at the end of every tunnel. By focusing on learning from your business failures and figuring out ways to look toward the future, you’ll give yourself the best chance at success next time. This is what the best business owners do: they build on their past failures until they are successful.
Deal with your pain and your fears, and the future can be yours!
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