The Power of Rethinking “Failure”

If you are a leader in business or an organization, take a new look at what you might have always perceived as failure. What if you could learn why you should look forward to failure, and how it can help you ultimately get where you want to go? For instance, when you read this statement, what’s your reaction?

“There is no such thing as failure.”  

Do you think it’s true? Maybe it makes sense to others but not to you. But what if you learned that you have the power to decide whether or not something is indeed, a “failure” or not, changing your whole idea about failure?  In fact, some highly successful people have already learned to look at the word failure in a very different way than others.  Let’s talk about why.

Why Others Watch a Leader Handle Failure 

Doing something that seems to be a failure shows the fact that you are only human. People watch how a person of stature handles a mistake and how that person recovers from it. Watching isn’t to be cruel, but it gives others hope that they too could recover from a mistake. 

Mistake making takes on a whole new form when a person sees how a leader faces and overcomes a problem. Everyone can have a failure or a setback but not everyone knows what to do about it. Making a successful comeback after a failure can increase your reputation, build confidence and show you as a person of integrity. The comeback doesn’t even have to be huge or earth shaking. It just has to happen. 

When “Failure” is Feedback 

What if starting today, the idea of failure took a radical change in your vocabulary? What if failure really meant a form of success? How could you acknowledge your success, even as you speak the word “failure”? Well, you can point out these ideas:  

  • That everything you learned in the process of getting to where you are now is not going to get thrown out — you learned good things to keep along with the stuff that didn’t work.
  • That simply being able to recognize everything hasn’t gone according to plan, or achieved the desired outcome (i.e. “failed”), is in itself a positive outcome
  • That even if the specific method you used this time around wasn’t the right one for this situation, you can surely use bits and pieces and parts from what you learned in another project or idea.
  • That you can eliminate and not repeat the same behaviors the next time a similar situation arises. Failing to achieve a goal in one way just increases your creative understanding of what works for a situation, project, or idea or what doesn’t.
  • That you’ll know to do things differently in the future. You will create in a new way to approach a problem and your creating will be quicker and more confident as a result of knowing what not to do? 
  • That the experience has enabled you to grow in some way. Adversities, set backs, failures, hard times — all of these things only make you a stronger and more confident person. 

Failure can simply be a great way to get you to pause in the midst of your process, and get some critical information to indicate that you may need to change directions, try something new, continue your learning, or shift your focus. 

Imagine what would happen if you didn’t get that feedback, and continued endlessly along the wrong path, towards the wrong goal, or without ever learning a new approach? It not a pretty thought. Therefore, make time to rethink the idea of failure. Failure can really be seen as positive feedback, providing information that gets you back on the right track! Without feedback you would surely be lost. The key is to quickly identify what isn’t working so you can change direction, try something new, or shift your focus. 

How would thinking of failure as a welcome invitation to understanding a better way to pursue you life dream change your thinking? Here are some tips: 

  • Always have a clear idea of where you want to go and continue to re-evaluate it as you move forward
  • Identify specific milestones or markers along the way, to let you know you’re on the right track and celebrate each success
  • If something doesn’t appear to be working, or working fast enough, don’t hesitate to try something new
  • Continually learn from others. These can be people you work with, experts in your field, mentors, or leaders that have travelled a similar road.

Remember, no one has to stay in the same place in life. If things are not working in the direction you are headed, stop and go another way. If you tried something one way, make a change in your activity until you find out what really works. Life is a series of starts and stops. Just think of how much experience you have in different areas of life when you try something and learn new things from that experience.

Keep trying new things; never plan to stop learning, trying, experimenting, and creating. This gives a leader the confidence needed to succeed. Consider the idea of rethinking failure as a way to reach success and strengthen your leadership skills instead of a way to set you back. You will take more risks, try more challenges and increase your overall successes.

Answering the “Why?” in Business Motivation

Starting a business is not that difficult; however, maintaining the vision for a business in your mind and heart is needed to keep you motivated towards your goal.  A vision is a mental picture of how you want things to be.  For instance, you would carry a mental picture of what being a success means to you. 

  • You can see people coming to you saying “Yes” I want what you have to offer.   
  • You see your products or services being purchased and your cash register full of cash.  

But keeping a vision alive is not the first step to building a successful venture.  The first step is to ask the most important question you will have to answer prior to being a success. That question is, Why? 

  • Why are you doing what you do (or want to do) in business?  
  • Why have you chosen (or will choose) to focus on a particular field, discipline, idea, etc.? 

It’s important to know why you intend to do something as intense as operating a business.  Starting or operating a business based on the wishes and dreams of others or based on the traditions within a person’s family. Perhaps you grew up in a family business and felt obligated to carry it on. But now, you might feel discouraged and unmotivated.  The business could have great potential but your lack of enthusiasm makes the marketing lackluster or almost non-existent.  When, you think about why you are in this particular business, its not because of your personal passion but because of the dreams of others. 

Working in a business because of the expectations of others is not always enough to motivate you to go through the ups and downs of business. You must have a passion for what you do.  It’s when you love the work, and want to do the business, that you are in the right field. 

This brings you back to why answering the question “Why” is an important first step to create a vision for your business. 

  • Why do you even want to serve a certain target community, locally or online, in this manner?  
  • Is this something you would choose to do on your own, or do you feel forced to go into this business or service?  
  • Do you know that this business is the best use of your talents and skills?  
  • Are you honoring your personal and business values through this business?

Answer the why and you’re on your way to understanding what you need to be doing in your life through business. 

Take time to find your true heart’s desire in business and pursue your true dreams. Then you will be a business professional who is ready to continue building your business in a way that enhances your quality of life and motivates you to continue on to success, no matter what obstacles you will inevitably face along the way.

Change Your Marketing with Changing Times

Marketing your business can still influence consumers in any economy.  In fact, you can change how you market your business and maintain a customer base when others are hitting hard times. What you need are new and innovative ways to bring attention to your business instead of depending on the old ways to get people to learn about you. Use these ideas to  increase your market share and see your business take a turnaround. 

1. Go personal by increasing your personal networking opportunities. Shake hands, meet people, and follow up with new acquaintances. Networking is the best way to let people know more about you. Look for opportunities you might have missed before and find new ones to make personal appearances and to meet people. Get those business cards and brochures with special offers updated and ready to distribute. Remember you have to let people see you multiple times before many make a buying decision so find new ways to get in front of people more often.  

2. Repurpose what you do instead of approaching people in the same way. The brochures you’ve always had look like the same ones everyone else is handing out. Just because you’ve presented your business in one format before doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing now. Instead of sending print newsletters, try audio and video. Instead of just handing out business cards and brochures, offer to do a demonstration of your products or services to give instant information. Be the first to be different by taking what you have and using it in a new way to attract attention.

3. Go live by providing informational seminars and workshops on topics related to your product or services. Hold workshops for free or low cost to introduce what you do to groups then shoot for individual clients. Give actual training events or spend one to two hours providing new insights into topics related t your business. Have your special offers ready to go at the end of the event and offer discounts for immediate sign-ups.  

4. Get your name in front of potential clients by donating products or services to groups and associations even if you’re the only one giving for that particular event. Tell the group organizers you are offering a door prize for their members that will help to increase the value of their meetings to members. Who could resist a free way to increase their member benefits? Make this a regular offer and continue to increase your exposure. If others follow suit, you’ll still be the first to make the offer.  

5. Look for ways to partner with other professionals and develop new package offerings of products and services. For example, maybe you have a skin care line and she has a stress reduction program. Together you offer a “look better and live longer” package at special pricing.    

6. Create the opportunities you need by organizing an event that lets you highlight what you have to offer. Reserve a room at a popular café or restaurant and invite several businesses that compliment but don’t compete with yours to join you in an evening of live demonstrations and information sharing. Make it a regular happening in your community that people come to expect and enjoy the increase in visibility for your business.    

7. Develop your reputation as the professional in your field. Write articles for the local newspaper get on public television and public radio and do a regular show for the community. Then get involved with Internet media shows. Of course you have to promote these offline shows on the web and the Internet marketing shows through offline means. This helps you to expand your reach and increase your frequency of exposure which are the two major keys to successful advertising.   

Marketing your business in new ways is more important than ever if you want to succeed in challenging economic times. Competitors are closing their doors which means more potential customers for the businesses that survive. Take steps to revamp your marketing efforts to respond to the needs of your target market. 

Be flexible and creative in how you present what you have to offer and be willing to put in the time and effort needed to make personal contacts. Be willing to think outside of the box and your business will be able to survive and thrive during times of economic challenge.

Business Plan- Why You Need to Write One

If you have a business and want it to succeed, you need to have a business plan.  It’s as simple as that. A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and the plan for achieving them. Even if you are working from the kitchen table, you still need a business plan.  A business plan can help you do the following: 

  • Define your business and set goals
  • Create a plan of action
  • Develop your brand
  • Organize your marketing efforts
  • Keep you focused on your business 

When it comes to developing your business, writing out your business plan will help you sort out your ideas and make it easier to identify which ones make the most sense. This will be a great thing when you start coming up with so many business ideas that you get overwhelmed. Your business plan will keep you on track.   

Your business can’t do everything for everyone. Without a business plan you might forget that point. Writing your business plan will let you narrow down which products and services you are going to offer, as well as help you decide which target market to offer them to. 

For example, if you are a professional events planner, you can choose to target market your business to other local businesses and offer to help them organize and put on events to market their businesses.You can market yourself to local residential busiensses and families to help them organize all types of events.. 

You can also market your business online and create online seminars or teleconferences or information products and people can learn from you long distance. Once you have determined who your target market is and how your business is going to help them, you will need to write out your goals and determine your plan of action in achieving them.  

Your business brand will help you achieve recognition among your target market and set you apart from the competition.  Some people can really struggle with determining their brand, and unfortunately, never create one.  Having a business plan will help you create a “big picture” idea of your business.  When you see the big picture, you can determine how you want your customers to see you. 

As you know, there are many different ways to market your business.  Another benefit to having a business plan and being able to see the “big picture” is being able to organize your marketing efforts. 

Your business plan will help you decide how you want to promote your business.  Some examples include marketing to local customers or taking your business global and marketing online.  

Finally, your business plan can keep you focused on your business and your goals.  If someone approaches you about a joint venture project or if you have an idea for a solo project, you can look at your business plan and see if that is something that would enhance your business. By now, it should be pretty obvious that writing a business plan is worth the effort.