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Now in this blog I’m going to do something different. I’m going to talk about about something personal but it seems relevant during this crazy time.
Back in the 1980’s my dad took a chance and went self employed and became a business owner. As a self employed painter decorator.
And then came the big recession of the 1980’s.
Why pay a painter decorator when you can do it yourself?
It was devastating for him. For us as a family. For his pride. For his mental health.
And I know some of you wreading this, or listening to this may well be staring this same situation in the face. For an economy that boasts AS many employees as self employed, the current climate and situation will have devastating effects on many, many people.
BUT…I want to give you something to think about…
I won’t give you false hope…
But I will share with you the 4 lessons I learned from my Dad’s failed business…
Ok…here’s a logical approach to this…
Failing at a business isn’t the end of the world.
In fact, it could be the beginning of a successful new business.
But I also know that emotion really does take over and so perhaps this may take a few views for you to ‘get’ what I’m trying to say.
Failure isn’t something to celebrate—at least if you subscribe to conventional wisdom.
Failure is seen as an ending; the end of the road.
When you fail feelings of inferiority, embarrassment, and stress dominate your thoughts.
Why move on? Why try again?
So what if Thomas Edison embraced the conventional wisdom?
How long would the world have waited before the light bulb was invented?
Instead, he said this after multiple failures: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you look back and figure out what went wrong, you probably won’t repeat the same mistakes.
So could any of these be the reason the business failed?
1. Don’t Play the Blame Game
It’s hard to admit but before moving forward you have to embrace a harsh reality. It’s your fault. I
t’s not the economy’s fault, your partner’s fault, the city you live in, your lack of money, the people, the product, or the family issues you had or in this case…people got ill.
It’s your fault because you were the leader of your business.
The successful businesses that will continue to thrive will overcame the same issues that brought you down.
When you can say that you were the main reason the business failed, your mind becomes open to change.
And it’s hard…I know it’s hard.
No-one wants to admit they did wrong.
No-one wants to admit they’ve made wrong decisions.
But as coach, speaker and author Larry Wingett says…your life and your business is YOUR fault.
Every decision you’ve made has led you to this point.
So it’s time to make different decisions.
To get you to a different point.
Which leads me to…
2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Just because it was your fault doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. My dad took it personal.
It led to bought of depression and heavy drinking.
Not that he will ever admit it.
If you want someone you know more than my dad, look at Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs as he founded NeXT Computer in 1985 after being forced out of Apple.
The company was far from successful and Apple later purchased it and brought Jobs back.
Not only was he fired from the company he founded, arguably the most brilliant business mind in recent history started a business that essentially failed.
This series of failures didn’t derail Jobs—it propelled him to further greatness.
He faced the same decisions any business owners face but he chose to turn them into positives.
We have choices.
Follow and massage our own ego, or spiral out of control.
Or take it on and do it better.
3. Be Willing to Let It Go
Maybe the first time around you did the research but it didn’t come back favourable.
Instead of abandoning the idea, you moved forward anyway.
The best entrepreneurs know that being too passionate about an idea is a recipe for failure.
There are plenty of ideas to choose from.
Pick one that both you and your customers love.
My dad was really good at what he did.
I mean really good.
But instead of going back to it, he decided to get a job. He then hurt his back and was out of action for over 9 months, double smashing him in the face and making matters worse.
If he had waited, accepted what had happened, and then came back…He would have been inundated with work.
He was that good.When I went self employed 10 year ago having had a successful corporate career….his first words were, “You’re an idiot son…”
He hadn’t let it go…And he still thinks I’m a fool for doing what I do now. A pointless waste of mental headspace and energy which could be redirected into getting up off the floor and going again…but better.
4. Bring in Experts and Make Them Friends
You aren’t an expert at everything. Hell, I’m not an expert in everything.
In this highly competitive world, trying to be an expert marketer, web designer, manufacturer, manager, sales associate, and accountant isn’t going to work. Build a team of experts that will improve your execution the next time.
I call them a ‘Success Team’.
I’ve got some really good people around me. And it’s taken me a few years to take my own advice. I look out for them, and I’d like to think they look out for me.
Being part of a group of positive, knowledgable and successful people is utterly key…if not essential to your success the next time around. Not only will it give you a better chance of being successful, but they will also stop you from making some poor decisions.
You can even join Mastermind groups that will not only hold you accountable, but you’ve then got the collective years of experience and skills that you may not possess in a room with you and helping you achieve things you never thought possible.
It still takes your willingness to do the work, but NO successful business has ever succeeded without a team behind it.
Look…It’s tough out there…
And I know its going to be for a while yet.
If you think back to the lessons I’ve learned is that you HAVE to THINK differently going forward. You have to believe things will be different this time around. You have to know that this time around you will make different and better decisions.
You have to be willing to be the best version of yourself. Your business the best version of itself it can be.
People need you. They really do.
Never forget that owning and running your own business is tough and the decisions we make are often some of the toughest. I guess we should all take a moment and think about our business ‘obituary’.
Now that’s quite a strong statement…but I want you to think…just for a minute.
If we look at it logically…if a business fails it’s like a death. And we will go through a grieving process.
But here’s the thing…when you are on your death bed…what would you want people saying about you?
Or even more personal…what do you want to say about yourself?
I gave the f@@k up?
Or do you want to say, I’m glad I believed in myself…made some different choices and made a f@@cking difference?
I know what I would want to say. And I know that’s what I’m going to do.
Regret, worry, and upset don’t pay the bills.
Your skills, your passion and your decisions will do.
Be that person that picks yourself up off the ground and come back bigger, better, faster, smarter and more amazing than you did before.
Be that person…and not my dad.
I want you to understand that this isn’t the end if things have gone wrong. Far from it.
Right now as I record this, there are thousands upon thousands in the same boat as you.
It’s a weird time. A very weird time.
I hope in my lifetime we never go through this again.
I will continue to support you guys to get the business that your hard work really deserves.