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25 Entrepreneurs Discuss on Whether Mistakes or Failure Have Affected Their Success

Business fails are the best form of learning. Hiring an expert or a coach to walk you through establishing your business can help you minimize the chances of failure but some entrepreneurs will prefer walking alone. Whichever path works best for you, you’ve got to be comfortable with failure and most importantly learn how to improve or deal with it. Don’t be too hard on yourself for the failures and don’t give up yet.

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners on whether mistakes or failure have affected their success and here are the responses.

#1- No, it only brings new knowledge

Photo Credit: Anatolii Ulitovskyi

I've done a lot of mistakes and keep doing them because all my decisions are the best with the skills that I have before making mistakes. Failing only brings new knowledge and nothing else. My second business was an online shop that I launched because of money. I prayed for Saturday and hated Monday. Luckily, the Ukrainian revolution destroyed this business. I lost a lot of resources but got happiness. My third business is a passion that I'm willing to do early in the morning and finish before going to bed. The weekend is the best time to keep working hard when all distractions getaway. Money never replaces happiness.

Thanks to Anatolii Ulitovskyi, SEOtools.TV!


#2- They affected my success

Photo credit: Gerrid Smith

My business was working well and profitably about five years ago. As a matter of fact, things were going so well that I decided to spend less time running my company and more time working on a new startup that I was really excited about instead! Because it was new and exciting, I began devoting more time to the new venture. Most of all, it was a thrill to be a part of something completely new. Meanwhile, business at my original firm was booming, and that deluded me. The task of an entrepreneur is not to run a business just OK. Entrepreneurs that are successful don't settle for doing the bare minimum for their business; instead, they work tirelessly to expand, improve, and position it for the future. My first company's growth halted as a result of splitting my team between the two, and I didn't have enough time to devote to the new venture to ensure its success. After the second business idea failed, I ceased all work on it. Since I'm still working on it full-time, the business is stronger than ever and expanding rapidly. I discovered that a successful venture required all of these attributes in equal measure. Without full-time management, side projects will only serve to divert your attention and sabotage your current efforts.

Thanks to Gerrid Smith, Property Tax Loan Pros!


#3- They shaped me for greatness

Photo Credit: Scott Ferguson

Of course, it did. As cliche as it may sound, mistakes and failures are what shaped me for greatness. It is what made me greater and it is what turns me into a wiser individual. In fact, if not for the things I've done wrong before, I would be losing more money than I'm earning. So I think that mistakes and failures affected my success in such a way that it shaped me to be a better person so I can eventually achieve it. Mistakes lead me to achieve success because they made me a better and wiser person. Through the learnings that failures brought, I was able to achieve success earlier than I initially thought.

Thanks to Scott Ferguson, I Over Golf!


#4- Became foundation of my success

Photo Credit: Rohit Bimbra

As a matter of fact, failure became my foundation of success. ​Mistakes and failures have a valuable impact on my journey even until now that I'm working on a higher phase of doing business compared to what I am before. Those bad decisions that I made and the pitfalls that I had became the wooden planks that built the bridge connecting the start of my journey to where I am today. These planks are glued by the lessons that I earned in those situations. Given this, failures and mistakes indeed affected my success because these made progress more possible for me.

Thanks to Rohit Bimbra, HomeHealthcareShoppe.com!


#5- I treated them as a grain of sand

Photo Credit: Sarah Jameson

I made a mistake filling in a few parts when I was originally writing out my business plan since I didn't take the time to read and acknowledge the section correctly. To avoid making the same error, I had to repeat the strategy and pay greater attention the second time around. This didn't have a significant impact on my success; it simply pushed it back because I needed to spend more time filling in the plan. I failed once before, and it had a negative impact on my success for a while. I was trying to broaden my horizons, but I didn't meet the standards of one of my clients who was supposed to assist me in doing so. This had a significant impact on my self-esteem because it prevented me from expanding, as well as limiting my entire potential. But, over time, I was able to conquer that and look where I am now. Everything happens for a reason, and treating your failures and blunders as a grain of sand is the best way to approach the problem because everything will continue to evolve through time, and you may be surprised in the end.

Thanks to Sarah Jameson, GreenBuildingElements.com!


#6- Made me stronger

Photo Credit: Dan Close

My biggest failure in my first business was making it the most important thing. I was obsessed with the company's growth to the point where it became the center of my universe, at the expense of my relationships, marriage, and personal health. As a result, I hit a setback and had to leave the company I had co-founded 12 years before. Since then, I've been able to learn and start a second company with a different emphasis and purpose, and I'm delighted to report that we're doing well, that my relationships and marriage are stronger than ever, and that I have a better balance and a healthier focus. While I never want to repeat that mistake, I am relieved to know that I have learned from it and now have the opportunity to create a company the proper way and assist others in doing so as well.

Thanks to Dan Close, We Buy Houses in Kentucky!


#7- Led to less organization

Photo Credit: Sumit Bansal

Looking back, I see that networking and making relationships are my strong suits. However, the administrative and clerical aspect of the business is one of my shortcomings. It was a huge error not to hire a part-time administrative assistant or a virtual assistant to help me stay organized and keep track of my contracts. I could have been a lot more organized if I'd had that assistance. Even today, two years later, we're still attempting to arrange a lot of our relationships and contracts, especially now that my company is growing so quickly. Even with our early deals, I feel like we're still playing catch-up. Overall, I don't believe we've made many mistakes in our firm, but one of them is not hiring someone to do administrative work.

Thanks to Sumit Bansal, TrumpExcel!


#8- Failures made me more mature

Photo Credit: Lauren Cook-McKay

I'm one of those people who can confidently say that making mistakes has helped me develop my business over time. Only because I made a mistake in accounting once and suffered the consequence, do I have improved my accounting practices. I have a great business collaboration because I mishandled a previous one. Failures, in my opinion, provide not only information about what not to do next time, but also the pain that encourages you to avoid repeating the same event. When compared to sports, where success or failure can be determined in a fraction of a second, business results occur in slow motion. In business, there is always time for thought, so having a bank of information from previous mistakes is efficient handling that can be tapped at any time.

Thanks to Lauren Cook-McKay, Divorce Answers!


#9- Almost affected my startup

Photo Credit: Anthony Mixides

Inadequate resources are a typical reason for new business failures, particularly in terms of having enough finance to survive the launch phase. I recall how a shortage of reserves nearly drove one of my first firms out of existence. The business model was good in and of itself. We provided an excellent service with a healthy profit margin; the problem was that we failed to consider our customers' payment conditions. Our expenses had to be paid every month from the beginning, but our clients had 90-day payment options. This meant that for the first three months, we had no revenue but a lot of expenses, causing serious cash flow problems. We were on the verge of going bankrupt despite having lucrative contracts. Fortunately, I was able to secure a loan from a friend to keep us afloat until we could achieve positive cash flow. We were quite fortunate. Not every company is so fortunate. Raw supplies, personnel, and equipment are all in the same boat. To attain our aim, you must ensure that you have sufficient resources.

Thanks to Anthony Mixides, Bond Media!


#10-  Impacted my self-belief negatively

Photo Credit: Deze Oh

As a relatively new entrepreneur, major mistakes have led to self-doubt and the feeling of imposter syndrome. In these situations, the time that I’ve had to spend rebuilding my confidence and reassuring myself of my own competence has kept me from bouncing back immediately and has delayed my ongoing success. In one instance, a major source for my business changed their strategy and drastically decreased the volume of consumers that they were sending my way. I had neglected to diversify and found myself incredibly discouraged by the negative impact that this had on my business. For a period of time, I felt paralyzed by this realization and spent more time mourning this loss than figuring out a way to pivot. I eventually overcame (and continue to conquer) those self-limiting feelings with affirmations to reprogram my mindset and by revisiting the reasons why I started this work.

Thanks to Deze Oh, ByDeze.com!


#11- They made me learn and grow

Photo Credit: Rbea Hmam

The route to success is different for everyone, but what’s certain is that everyone makes mistakes or suffers failures at some point in their course to success. During my journey, I learned a lot from my mistakes and failures. It always felt like I was getting further away from my goals and that the success I am striving for may not happen. However, I learned about what I am not supposed to repeat in the future with every mistake. I only realized later that while I was worried about making mistakes, I was only making my success concrete. Mistakes made me learn and grow so that I could handle everything once I was successful. If this path had been straightforward, I might not have valued the success as much, and my learning would have been much inferior. This is how my mistakes shaped my journey to success.

Thanks to Rbea Hmam, Almowafir!


#12- I've learned from them

Photo Credit: Nick Stoddard

Ever since I started my entrepreneurial journey a decade ago, I made a promise with myself: I wouldn’t be afraid of failure; instead, I would use it as a launchpad to go on and achieve big things in my life. This mantra has enabled me to have a very positive outlook regarding all my business dealings. I have encountered failure more times than I can remember, but what matters is that I’ve never let it bring me down. On the contrary, I have learned great lessons from each of my mistakes and used those learnings to make myself a better businessman. I believe that each entrepreneur fails multiple times in their life; what sets them apart is how they react to those failures.

Thanks to Nick Stoddard, KC Property Connection!


#13- They have a lot of impact

Photo Credit: Hutch Ashoo

Failures forced me to ponder, reevaluate, and develop new methods and tactics for accomplishing my goals. Failure is necessary for growth and to push us to success. Losses will occur regardless of how hard we try to avoid it, so we might as well approach it with a ‘no fear' mentality. Throughout my path, I have accepted failure. I do not concentrate on my errors or lament them. I accept it and pick myself back up to make amends. Failure has inherent value. We shall have a better understanding of ourselves and learn from our mistakes as a result of failure.

Thanks to Hutch Ashoo, Pillar Wealth Management, LLC!


#14- Helped me do what I do today

Photo Credit: Nancy Burger

I have no doubt that the mistakes and setbacks I have experienced in my life and in my business have fueled my success. I launched my consultancy three years ago after realizing through my personal journey with fear-based thinking how much others were crippled by it. As I was navigating a painful divorce, I was stunned by the number of people who reached out to share how fear was holding them back, who were looking for guidance and advice. Once I was able to create strategies to change my own relationship with fear, I became committed to sharing these strategies with others to hopefully reduce some of the suffering. I faced plenty of setbacks and steep learning curves as I worked to deliver this medicine to the world, but those setbacks only emboldened me and allowed me to grow. At the end of particularly tough days, I would list the things I learned and focus on how those lessons would fuel my trajectory forward. Our fears tell us what we need to know about ourselves, and failure is a bridge to innovation. Today I am consulting with individuals and companies and just launched my first digital course. Without my mistakes, I wouldn't be doing what I do.

Thanks to Nancy Burger, The Fear Finder Project!


#15- Taught about personnel models

Photo Credit: Dragos Badea

As the CEO of a hybrid workforce management software company, it is probably no surprise to hear that my business exploded in growth with Covid acting as a catalyst. This is where our originally very lean personnel model came back to bite us, as trying to maintain an aggressive rate of expansion without sufficient boots on the ground employees is borderline impossible. We're scrambling to fill those roles now and foresee additional expansion in the future, but learned the valuable lesson that sometimes the thing you need most is seasoned professionals ready to be flexible.

Thanks to Dragos Badea, Yarooms!


#16- Failing taught me about business

Photo Credit: Jacob Engels

Definitely! Failing my first StartUp after two years, taught me a lot about business. Without the experience I've gained during that time, I wouldn't be where I am today. Sometimes you just got to be thrown into the cold water and learn how to swim by yourself. Also, making mistakes is crucial. It teaches you so much about processes and how you work as a person. Mistakes should always been seen as a chance to do the task better than ever before.

Thanks to Jacob Engels, Paperless!


#17- I learned to always do research

Photo Credit: Jordan Peagler

As a personal injury attorney who owns a small firm, I have definitely had failures and my share of mistakes. While they have been temporary setbacks, they haven’t affected my success long-term because I’ve used them as learning opportunities. Here’s an example of one mistake I made. I had a case in which my client had significant injuries that were disputed by the defendant and his expert witnesses. Our client’s deposition was noticed, which meant we had to prepare our client for how to answer certain questions. The deposition preparation we did with the client went smoothly. On deposition day, defense counsel asked a series of questions pertaining to a prior injury that I was completely unaware of. The client never disclosed this prior injury, and the deposition headed south right away with the client looking dishonest about their health. I had failed to do proper research into my client’s past, which meant I wasn’t prepared for that line of questioning. Instead of letting this affect my overall success, I learned to always do research, not only on the defendant but also into your own client’s past.

Thanks to Jordan Peagler, MKP Law Group!


#18- Yes, it led to losses

Photo Credit: Tomek Mlodzki

Focusing too much on website traffic without looking at conversion rates. Like any entrepreneur, I've made mistakes from which we've suffered business losses, but also gained some much needed experience to guide us. In our case, the mistake was focusing too much on website traffic without looking at conversion rates for sales. This was a vital mistake because we expected that increased traffic would lead to exponential sales, but we simply hadn't done enough work on creating pages and traffic that converts. This meant that even when traffic targets were reached, sales and revenue still lagged far behind what was expected. Fortunately, we managed to identify this problem early enough so as to correct it and finally managed to capitalize on all the traffic we had built before.

Thanks to Tomek Mlodzki, PhotoAiD!


#19- Helped me realize there is no shame in admitting them

Photo Credit: Debbie Winkelbauer

After leaving a career in clinical research and pharma sales, I launched a career specializing in life science recruiting. Although it was an exciting start, I underestimated some things, such as not being clear on how I would charge my clients on both the demand and supply sides. In those early months, I ended up charging below the market rate to build my client base, but that would eventually affect our cash flow and pushed me so close to closing business: it was a real low point. Still, I knew I had no option but to make my new recruiting career work– I had the skill, expertise, and support, I just needed to take a moment to get the systems right, and I did. After drafting a solid business plan and being clear on my target client base, I came up with a price structure that reflected my expertise and the quality of service I would be delivering. My mistakes helped me realize there is no shame in admitting your mistakes, retracing your steps, or even starting all over again until you get it right.

Thanks to Debbie Winkelbauer, Surf Search!


#20- They led to lots of time wastage

Photo Credit: Eden Cheng

My biggest mistake when I first started out as an entrepreneur was trying to do it all myself. As a founder, I felt that I knew everything that I had to know about software development, which gave me the confidence I needed to launch a software startup. And to some extent I did, it's just that I didn't know anything at all about holding a viable business together from handling finance, marketing and even human resources. And it was because of that, my first software company stalled out, as I found myself spending more time-fighting fires than actually handling the things I was actually good at and enjoyed. It was because of this teachable moment that when I launched my second startup, PeopleFinderFree,I made the decision to work with a business partner and gave him the full scope to handle all other aspects of the business that I was sorely lacking experience and knowledge in. And while it did feel as though I was giving up my company, if it wasn't from that first failure I wouldn't have been able to make the vital but tough step toward success.

Thanks to Eden Cheng, PeopleFinderFree!


#21- Sparked my growth

Photo Credit: Charles Cridland

For entrepreneurs, mistakes and failures are part of life and part of business. There are some common mistakes that many business owners make, for example, missing an important deadline, hiring the wrong person, or losing an opportunity. I’ve made them too, and I’m not ashamed of it because no one is perfect. I believe mistakes and failures have significant growth potential, and we truly learn to succeed through them. They are just temporary obstacles on the way to achieve our goals, and they provide us with unique experiences that can help us improve if we work hard to turn them to our advantage. I consider mistakes I have made as lessons learned and always think about how to make these lessons helpful in the future.

Thanks to Charles Cridland, YourParkingSpace!


#22- Made me wary of collaborators

My biggest regret is the mistake of putting too much trust in one of my business partners. This turned out to be a disastrous decision costing myself and the company a great deal. It has tainted my faith in others, many of whom are deserving of trust. As I have continued in business for more than 40 years now, I have without a doubt missed opportunities to work with some amazing entrepreneurs, but a bad experience made me wary of the same thing happening again. Once burned twice shy!

Thanks to Alain Sobol, Red Sea College!


#23- Yes, when I tried to fit a square peg in a round hole

Photo Credit: Brent Thurman

When I began expanding, I hired a new employee who ended up being a sales force to reckon with. She could take most customers down the sales process with ease and close the deal before they would sing her praises to me. I was excited about her success but still required her to play the same backup roles as everyone else…service, and occasionally secretarial, but it always seemed to be a struggle for her. One day there was a big mistake on the secretarial side by this new salesperson…a loose end wasn’t tied up and it almost cost us an important relationship with a strong referral source. I gave her a written warning and said we would review in 30 days. A week later she quit and I lost perhaps the most talented sales person I’ve ever employed. I realized my mistake in trying to fit a square peg in a round hole rather than enabling her unique abilities for her own success and the good of the team. Since those early days, our average staff employment time has grown 4X and I absolutely attribute this progress to my wake-up call from losing that talented salesperson and my newfound focus on unlocking and developing unique talents within our staff rather than trying to get everyone to fit the same round hole.

Thanks to Brent Thurman, Bear River Mutual Insurance!


#24- Helped shape later decisions and businesses

Photo Credit: Shawn Khorrami

I can say that without question mistakes and failures have not only affected my success, but in fact, they have helped shape later decisions and businesses. As much as no one want to fail at anything, failures can ultimately become some of the most important lessons you learn and primary catalysts to later success. They have allowed me to identify and avoid pitfalls that I would never have seen before. My mistakes and failures have also been places from which I've been able to provide value, not just to my own businesses, but to those of friends and colleagues.

Thanks to Shawn Khorrami, ePlaybooks!


#25- They have been part of my process

Photo Credit: Cooper (Coop) Mitchell

The mistakes I made when building my company, Garage Gym Reviews, definitely affected my success positively. GGR is a web-based company, and when I started I had no experience creating and maintaining a website. So, it naturally didn’t look good or function exceptionally well when I started. I would post articles that looked broken when they went live on the site, the site architecture didn’t make sense, and overall the user experience was awful. Just getting the site up and starting here was crucial, though. When I looked at what I had made I thought to myself, “this is terrible,” but having something tangible to criticize gave me something to fix. So, each iteration got better and brought new things to fix. Making mistakes is part of the process, and as long as you’re able to look at the problems you have honestly, you can use them to grow. So, don’t get worried if you don’t have a polished business idea from day one.

Thanks to Cooper (Coop) Mitchell, Garage Gym Reviews!


Has mistakes or failure affected your success? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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