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Why your first 3 business ideas fail (and why that's a good thing)

How you can make sure that fourth  try is a charm

Josh Elkin
1st Mar 2018
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Failing monumentally at something does not feel good. It’ll likely keep you up at night for weeks. And when it’s a business idea, you’ve invested time, money, and huge amounts of effort. Not to rain on your parade, but 90% of startups fail for a variety of reasons. Some are obvious rookie mistakes, while others can only be learned from hindsight.

This statistic alone should discourage most of us from pursuing our goals, but it, in fact, makes us that much more resilient. Some of the most brilliant innovators of our time have failed countless abundantly before creating something absolutely game-changing.

Here are some excellent reasons why failing at your first three ideas could be a good thing.

You’re learning about yourself as a leader

Businesses rise and fall for all sorts of reasons, but there is one thing we know for sure: the captain of the ship is the one calling the shots. The grand ideas we have in our brains about the kind of leaders we’ll be are simply fantasies. Putting your idea out into the general market to be criticized is the kind of tough love that we do not receive from supportive family and friends.

How do you weather a storm? How do you encourage employees when times are tough? You need actual experience in failure in order to grow from it. Being humbled is one thing, but failure gives you a unique insight on how to overcome a huge hurdle.

You know that slow is sometimes better

The problem with this motto is that the customers may not actually come. Without a proven track record or a reliable customer base, how will you truly know the magnitude of the growth you need?

However, on a smaller scale, this motto is quite important. For instance: if you keep learning the ins-and-outs of your business or build a stellar customer service system, you will build a strong foundation. On the flip side, so many businesses fail because they prematurely scaled outward. Building warehouses or expanding too quickly shows lack of understanding of the way a business grows organically.

We all want multimillion dollar businesses, but be sure to get purchase commitments and investors with connections before building your empire.

You find that you need to focus

Visionaries are most often the ones who change the world. One of the more frustrating traits of a visionary, however, is that sometimes details get lost in the cracks. If you’re building a company from scratch, details are incredibly important - even if they drag you down from thinking big. While you’re creating these big ideas, figuring out the details on how to make it sustainable and marketable is just as important as the idea itself. You may be getting in your own way and preventing your wonderous idea from reaching mass market appeal.

You don’t fear failure anymore

After getting hit repeatedly with failure, the fear, pain, and agony have now diminished somewhat. You know exactly what the unknown looks like (including the worst possible outcome) as you have been there time and time again. This kind of mindset will help you meet confidently with new investors or gatekeepers along your journey to success. You have “been there, done that”, and understand the valuable lessons that have been learned.

Failing repeatedly is an interesting blessing in disguise when it comes to business. It helps you manage expectations, come up with creative solutions, and introduce yourself and your product to the world with an older and wiser mindset. 
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