What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? It seems many entrepreneurs are answering that question for themselves by embracing their passions, launching startups, and taking charge of their careers.
In the past 15 months, I have had the pleasure of meeting with dozens of entrepreneurs throughout Connecticut. We often discuss success—how it is defined and how it is achieved. Many entrepreneurs have discussed how failure has played an integral role in their entrepreneurial journey.
The takeaway seems to be that failure is a natural part of entrepreneurship—and true failure, for entrepreneurs, is failing to try. To wit, Winston Churchill once said, “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Kyle Reyes, Founder of The Silent Partner Marketing LLC, would agree. During our interview, he noted that, “If you fail more than your competition, you win because it means you tried harder, you tried new things, and you learned more about the market than anyone else.”
Reyes isn’t the only one who views failure as opportunity. Cookshop Plus Co-Owner Samantha Hines says, “If you take every failure as a setback than it really will set you back.” She adds that when things don’t work as planned they are not necessarily failures; they’re ways to think about taking a different approach.
Still others view failure as a learning experience—and part of the process.
“Aspiring entrepreneurs can’t be afraid to fail,” says Kenai Sports, LLC Co-Founder Charles Bogoian. “Failing along the way is part of the process, but learning from those failures is one of the best ways to develop your startup.”
Entrepreneur Adam von Gootkin, Co-Founder of Onyx Spirits Co. also advocates learning from failure. In his book, Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine’s Journey to Revive the American Spirit, he notes that failure can be a more valuable learning tool than success.
“One thing’s for certain: Your plan never goes exactly how you originally intended—and sometimes (often) these unexpected glitches involve varying degrees of failure,” he writes. “The question to ask is: When things fall apart, are you one to stand back right up and make alterations to your plan as needed, or do you give up and settle for less than you deserve?”
Giving up is not an option for Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ Co-Founder Jamie McDonald, who emphasized that startups need to “keep pushing through,” adding that he believes businesses fail because they give up too soon.
Undoubtedly, perseverance is an important mission and challenge for startups. So how should entrepreneurs keep pushing through?
“The advice I received that has stuck with me is that all startups are basically failing, so you need to figure out really quickly what it is that’s going to keep you in business and focus on that,” stresses Kevin Miles, Founder and CEO of EureekaBI.
“If you have a good product, you give people more than they expect, and you’re there when they have problems or questions, you can’t fail,” recommends Kate Phelps, Founder and CEO of Taylor Reporting Solutions, LLC.
The bottom line is, entrepreneurs need to take a leap of faith. Krust Pizza Bar Co-Owner Kevin Wirtes’ advice to other startups is: “Go for it. You have plenty of time to fail and pick yourself back up.”
And, there is something to be said about being passionate about what you do. Racquel Lunser, Owner of Racquel’s Addiction Fitness says, “Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith because you will only be happy doing what you love to do. If you put your heart into something and do it with good intentions you can never fail.”
About the Author
Nan Price is Website Curator for Innovation Destination: Hartford.