Connect with us


How to Handle Business Failure



Have you experienced a business failure in the past? Are you currently experiencing business challenges? Are you on the verge of business failure?

Are you afraid of starting a business because of the fear of failure? Do you fear failure? Do you see failure a sign of defeat? If your answer to any of these questions is yes; then please read on because I am about revealing the secret to handling business failures and making a success out of it.

“The business empires built by successful entrepreneurs were erected on the foundation of past failures.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

I once wrote an article “50 Failure Quotes from 50 Successful People” and I backed it up by sharing with you stories of successful entrepreneurs that failed before hitting success. I have also shared my personal experience about how I failed and went to become successful.

Before I go on, I want to state categorically that I will not in anyway be highlighting the causes of business failures or how to avoid them. I have dealt with such topics extensively in the past.

In this article, I will strictly be sharing with you practical tips for bouncing back to success from failure. I will be telling how to handle business failures and make a success out of it. I have failed countless times and the steps explained below are exactly how I handle my failures.

Though this article is strictly written for entrepreneurs and business owners; anybody can make use of its lessons. If you are prepared to learn, please read on. Now how do you handle business failure? How do you recover from a business failure? Well, you are going to find out below.

How to Handle Business Failure and still Succeed

  1. Be prepared to fail

In the article “How to Start a Business from Scratch,” I shared four hard core business lessons I have learn; mind you that these business lessons were self learned (lessons from personal experience). My lesson one in that article was:

“The fastest way to build a successful business from scratch is to fail fast.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

And this lesson is the truth in its entire. The first and the best way to handle business failure is to prepare for it in advance. I know this sounds crazy but it’s probably the best strategy for handling business failure. Nobody wants to fail and that’s why majority end up becoming failures.

Everyday I come across budding entrepreneurs who are excited about their new fool proof business ideas. But what these entrepreneurs fail to understand is that business is a game of probability; where you have a 50 – 50 chance of either failing or succeeding.

And with business failure come emotional pain on the part of the entrepreneur. I have seen and heard of entrepreneurs committing suicide just because their business crumbled. When my mom lost her lucrative business to fire, I knew the amount of courage it took her to bear the loss and start all over again.

At the site of the incident, a business man who couldn’t stand the sight of watching his sweat go up in flames attempted to jump into the fire. If not for the intervention of on-lookers, that man would have been history.

That’s exactly why you need to be prepared in advance for the D-day. Nobody prays for failure but if it comes; you just have to face it. That’s what makes you an experienced entrepreneur. Now how do you prepare in advance for business failure?

You prepare in advance to handle business failure by changing your perception towards failure. Just as my mentor “Robert Kiyosaki” says “No one is doomed to bad luck.” Sometimes, unplanned shit happens but I will rather prepare myself for it ahead of time than to carry the illusion that things will never go wrong.

“Things never go smoothly.” – Jeff Bezos

You can also prepare for business failure by giving your business your best shot, while expecting the worst. Expecting the worst may lead you to setting up a landing haven; which in this case will be a contingency plan. A pilot learning how to fly an airplane will never be allowed to practice without a parachute; so must you also never start a business without an escape plan.

A contingency plan is the reason why successful entrepreneurs start new businesses despite their failures; it’s the reason why I am still in the game of entrepreneurship. I have had successes and failures in business but that doesn’t still erase the odds. I might be back to square one tomorrow; but I am not afraid to lose it all because I have prepared my mindset to handle even the worst situation.

  1. Don’t take failure personal

The message above is straight and precise. If you’ve been hit by a storm in business; don’t take it personal, it’s just life. Don’t go banging your head against the wall because you won’t solve anything that way. Don’t go criticizing yourself; don’t regret ever starting a business.

The fact that you failed in business doesn’t mean you are doomed to bad luck. It’s not your destiny to be a failure; failure and success is all about choice. Instead of talking down on yourself, cheer yourself up; you’ve just proved that you have the nerve to handle risk.

  • Starting a Business: It Takes More than Just an Idea

It takes guts to start a business and fail; and you’ve just built one and lost it. Most people will remain average because they lack such guts; they may die poor because they lack the courage to risk failure. Most people will never know what it feels like to lose a million dollar business and that’s why they will never build a billion dollar business.

  1. Take responsibility

“Making mistakes is the privilege of the active. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they are not wrong.” – Ingvar Kamprad

Taking responsibility for your actions is an essential ingredient to handling business failure and making a success out of it. Don’t go looking for whom to blame. If you were bad at cash flow management; admit it. If your business crumbled based on the decision you took or the business move you made; don’t deny it. Admit it and move on. Making mistakes is what makes us human.

“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.” – Ingvar Kamprad

  1. Let your emotions flow

When you’ve lost a business; just let your emotions flow. Cry if you must and don’t feel bad about crying but I will prefer you do it in your closet. Don’t even think about hurting yourself because your predicament is just a phase that will come to pass. Allow your emotions flow because that moment of pain and tears will turn out to be one of your memorable and most inspiring moments in life.

  1. Analyze the situation

Analyze the situation and circumstances surrounding your business failure. Where did you go wrong? What did you do wrong? What caused the failure? What would you have done to prevent the failure that you failed to do?

These are the questions you should be answering at this point in time. If you don’t find definite answers to the questions; then you are bound to repeat the feat again. You can also pick the pieces or leftovers of your failed business. They may prove useful in your next business venture.

  1. Take note of the lessons

This is probably the most important element to converting your business failure into success. You will be a fool to lose a business and not learn from the experience. In fact, this experience may turn out to be a priceless asset in the long run. Yes, you’ve fail and there’s nothing you can do about it. One of the most important questions I always ask someone who has just lost a business, contract or an idea is this: What did you learn from your failure?

If you can’t answer this question confidently; then more business failures await you. The lesson from your business failure is very important because it will form the foundation on which you will build a successful business.

“Behind every adversity is an opportunity. If you lament over the adversity, you will miss the opportunity.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

  1. Resolve to succeed

“Get mocked at for as much as you can, fail as much as you can but don’t quit. Let every mockery, every failure, be a source of inspiration for you to reach for greatness and that greatness will silence your critics.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

You can either use your business failure as leverage to greater heights or as a spade to digging your grave. The choice is yours. Instead of being cowed by your failures; use your business failure as a stern resolve to succeed. Each time I fail; I resolute to strive harder and smarter to cover for my losses and failures. Failures don’t weigh me down; instead, failure inspires me to success. You should strive to use your failures positively.

“When I see a barrier, I cry and I curse, and then I get a ladder and climb over it.” – John Johnson

  1. Start again

“Starting a business is like building a ship and embarking on a voyage, armed with a plan, a map and a team. You have to sail with uncertainty against storms and unpredictable weather. If your ship sinks, it’s either you quit or you swim back to shore, build a new ship and sail again.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

You have failed, cried your eyes out and learned some lessons. But the question now is: will you have the guts to start a business again? The word of God made me understand that the glory is not in the falling; but by rising each time we fall.

Just as I said earlier; “I am not afraid of failing, I am only afraid to quit the entrepreneurial process having come this far.” In the business world, you are not yet defeated until you quit the game. As long as you are still in the game; even if you are hanging by a finger, you can always start again.

“You can always quit, so why quit now.” – Rich Dad

As a final note, this is my eight step guide to handling business failures. These are the exact steps I take whenever I fail to breakthrough in business. Before I draw the curtain close, I want you to know that failing in business is a painful experience; but it’s worth it if you go about it positively and make a success out of it.

Nigeria’s top youth newspaper - actively working to deliver credible news, entertainment, and empowerment to 50 million young Africans daily.