How to Turn Failure into Success in Small Businesses


Success is exhilarating and failure is demoralizing; both of these conditions exist in equal turn with small businesses. The successful small businesses manage these emotions and most importantly, they learn from failure. Unless the failure terminally impairs the business’s ability to operate, the most important thing to remember is it can be fixed. There are a few things to consider when taking a look at failure and learning from it.

Focus on Process, Not Result

The result is easy to focus on because it’s clear to the naked eye. However, there’s usually more to find looking into the process. The result is the outcome of the process, just like a baked cake is the result of mixing different ingredients and baking at a certain temperature. Reviewing the process reveals the flaws in the process or, it could reveal the process is not flawed and random chance created the failure.

Understand the Nature of Chance

In baseball, the most successful hitters fail 70% of the time. Ty Cobb holds the record for the highest batting average with .366 – meaning he got a hit almost 37% of his at-bats. A small business owner would look at a 37% success rate and be discouraged, but chance plays a part in all things. What if the defense for Cobb played him to pull instead of go the opposite way? What if Cobb decided to hit for power? Chance affects all things, so having a repeatable process yielding a level of success commensurate with the industry standard means chance will always play a part in success and failure.

Don’t Be Emotional

It’s absolutely disheartening to fail at something, but small business owners must have a short memory. This applies to success as well. The ability to evaluate a failure without attaching emotional baggage allows for clinical assessment. It’s important to lead without emotion, the team takes its cues from the leader. Therefore, when gathering everyone to figure out what happened, don’t be emotional and the rest of the team won’t be.

Retain Optimism

The best athletes always believe they’ll succeed in their next opportunity. There are plenty of basketball players missing several shots in a row, but their advice is to keep shooting. The same thing applies to small business owners. Be optimistic. Review all the success of the small business. Take a look at the journey to this particular point. There’s a lot more success than failure on that road. Use the optimism to get back up and ready to take the next shot.

Learning from failure is a big part of how Preveer consultants help small businesses. Get the insight needed to turn failure into success. Email here.

How to Turn Failure into Success in Small Businesses