making mistakes

Failure Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

Failing from time to time isn’t always bad.

What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger.

Running your own business can be a rewarding as well as challenging experience. The rewards can be great, and setbacks can be devastating. But encountering failures from time to time in business isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having a few missteps along the way is one indicator of innovation. If you haven’t gotten your fingers burned a few times, then you aren’t challenging yourself. A mistake can’t be labeled as a mistake if you’ve learned a valuable lesson from them.

As an entrepreneur, you want to take risks, but there are ways to manage the downside to offset the implications if those risks go wrong. You don’t really learn from successes, but failures can teach you some valuable lessons. Along the way, you learn what works and what doesn’t work. And going forward, you can apply those valuable lessons learned to make your business stronger. Experience is an amazing teacher.

Failure can have an adverse effect upon morale. As long as you keep a positive attitude toward failure and not let it consume you, then you have the right attitude toward setbacks and a willingness to learn from them.  Some of the world’s greatest innovators had missteps early on, and learned valuable lessons along the way.

Remember, when you are truly innovative, you will have a lot of naysayers standing in your way. You mustn’t be worries about what people will say about you. It’s up to the entrepreneur to take those risks and move society forward. The future is yours, and don’t forget it. Happy exploring!

What Does Business Planning and the Family Vacation Have in Common?

The Family Vacation

What do business planning and the family vacation have in common? Remember those family summer vacations from childhood? If yours were anything like mine, the one thing that you remember most was the obsessive planning that took place before we stepped foot out of the door and got strapped in to the station wagon. We would get maps from the AAA with the route clearly marked, potential hazards along the way, road construction, alternate routes and weather forecasts.
We’d have blankets in the car in case we had a breakdown on the highway (even in the middle of summer – wouldn’t want to get cold!). Food would be packed for the journey (in case we broke down in an area where there wasn’t a McDonalds or an equivalent – wouldn’t want to go hungry!). Our itinerary would be mapped out to the minute. We’d know where we were supposed to be at every step of the journey, milestones we were supposed to hit, just in case we were going to be running late and needed to phone ahead to the relatives to let them know (wouldn’t want them to worry!). I can’t say that this was a particularly enjoyable aspect of summer vacation, but I do have to say that thanks to this meticulous planning, we never broke down in an area where there wasn’t a food joint and froze to death.

And How It Relates To Business Planning

Now what does this have to do with business planning, you might ask? Well the business plan should serve a similar function to running your business as it did in planning those childhood vacations. The business plan should have the journey mapped out with a clear path to your destination, the milestones you will be hitting at every leg of the journey, potential risks and hazards you might encounter and ways of dealing with those hazards.

When writing the business plan for business planning purposes, was it something that you wrote to raise funding and then stuck in a file folder to gather dust? Or, is it a living document that guides the way that you run your business. Just make sure that when you develop your business plan that it doesn’t have all of that useless fluff in it to make it look like an “important document”. Keep it direct, relevant, to the point, and most importantly use it as a roadmap for your business. The business plan is the most essential part of the business planning process. When done properly, it can be a much more enjoyable experience than being stuck in a station wagon listening to AM radio as a child. The Small Business Administration is a good place to start in business planning for your small business. Un_Standard is another resource to help in the planning process.