We see the success stories all the time. How one person conquered the world and became a multi-millionaire overnight. But is that really how it happened or are we just getting the fairy-tail version?
Behind every success story, there is a fail or a mistake that at the time seemed like it was the beginning of the end. But what makes a success story so inspirational, is the people who stuck it out and believed in what they were doing and learned from their fails.
We asked a group of like minded business Mums what their greatest business fail was and how they overcame it to still be in business today. What did they learn? Here’s how you can learn from the little hiccups that can sink businesses.
What is your greatest business fail and how did you overcome it?
- Marketing Strategy – This is crucial in business because if no one knows your business exists, then you don’t have a business. One fail in starting up a business is only focusing on one or two marketing or advertising avenues. Broaden your marketing at the start to find you audience and your niche and then refine when you find what is working for you. You may find that the target audience you thought you were going for isn’t your audience at all. Keep an open mind and look at the trends and see what is working for you and then follow that path. Don’t be blinkered to one or two methods that might not be working.
- Self Doubt – You may be surprised, but this is probably one of the most common fails. At some point or another, the self doubt kicks in. Those little voices inside your head start telling you that you can’t do it. It is not going to work. This is all too hard. And it usually comes right around the time you have had a set-back. Double whammy! But, you know why? It is your flight mode trying to protect you. Trying to tell you to run away and it will all be ok. But the flight mode has another path. The fight mode. Fight your self doubts, build a plan to overcome the set backs and move toward your success. This is what makes a successful business person and successful Entrepreneur.
- Plan – Have a plan in place, especially if you are going to borrow money. When seeking business advice, many will say you need to borrow funds in order to invest into the business to grow it and make more money. The old saying, you need to spend money to make money. But make sure you have a steady plan in place on how you are going to recoup that money whilst still growing you business. Borrowing without a solid business plan can be dangerous and you can be left with a huge debt and no business. Invest wisely and have more than one income stream in place so you aren’t reliant on just one source. Jules Smith from Washbar shares with me her experience with this. “We were advised by our (ex) Accountant that we should borrow money to grow, but we didn’t have a robust plan to grow in place. We found ourselves borrowing more to prop up the poor plan. But now we have a great plan in place, surrounded by great people and rocking it out.” Learn more about income streams here.
- Jumping The Gun – Make sure you test your product first before going down the path of registering your business and your trademark. What may seem like a great idea could be just that. So test your product and make sure it works and that you can develop a market for it. Setting up a business, especially a product based business, can be a costly process so make sure you have a clear plan and a product that will sell.
- Taking On A Business Partner – Working in a partnership can be great. There are two set of ideas, the workload can be split and you are both contributing to the business giving it more financial backing. But make sure both parties are covered in the event one of you need to break away. Have a contract in place to protect yourself and the business. If you were the business creator, make sure you and your asset is protected.
- Financial Pressure – Deciding to start your own business is exciting. Working for yourself and ditching the boss and the 9-5. But before you decide to go out on your own, make sure you have the financial security to support yourself and your family while you are establishing the business. Contrary to some advertisements, you don’t get rich overnight and you need to work at your business in order to make it a long term success. Consider starting your business whilst you are still in a financially secure job so you aren’t burdened by the pressure to make money instantly. Once you can see your business is in a position to support you, then make the jump and don’t look back.
- The Competition – Focusing too much on the competition and how to beat them can distract you from your own business. It is important to know who your competition is and what they are doing, but don’t make it your life’s work. Keep the main focus on your business and what you are doing. What you want to achieve. If keep your focus on your business and your customers, the rest will take care of itself. Run your own race, but keep a sneaky eye on the competition.
- Look After Yourself – Marisa Punshon from Orbit Accounts and Miss Moneypenny Presents quite simply said “My biggest fail was not putting down boundaries or non-negotiables. I was working hard but had no cash, looking after everyone else but me. Once I started honouring my self worth things changed completely.” It is so easy to get swept up in your own business, especially at the start when you’re most likely going it solo. But what happens if you burn out? Make sure you are getting reward for effort, even if that is just a weekend off.
We are asking business owners the tough questions. In a series of blogs we ask the taboo subjects that get brushed over or embellished. We want to find out what really happens behind the scenes of an Entrepreneur (and Mumpreneur) from the very business owners themselves.