Experiencing failure can make us question ourselves ad nauseum. Financial failures are unsettling, particularly if you were on the brink of losing everything – or if you actually did. But if you have a solid business idea, look for ways to move forward, not for reasons not to. You’ll find plenty of the latter, whether real or imagined. The question is whether you’ll allow them to impede you.
Failure Fallout: Scale Your Fears and Start Your Business
After suffering a past financial fiasco, it’s understandable that you may be wary or scared. Remember that you can find a great deal of precedent forunknowns who started with nothing and later became household names. As the great designer Ralph Laurenstated: “You have to create something from nothing.”
Create an attitude shift
Adjusting how you think will help you adjust how you feel. It’s hard to move your thoughts in another direction, especially a more positive one if you’re continuously dwelling on your past failures. On the other hand, not thinking about something is easier said than done, so take some concrete,actionable steps to help get you there.
First, look at your network of friends and business associates. Would you characterize them as generally positive and upbeat people? They don’t have to be the slap-happy, joke-telling sort, but do they view the future through an optimistic or a pessimistic lens? The views and attitudes of those with whom you associate tend to rub off without you being aware of it. You don’t have to cut ties, but try to take a step back and limit your interactions with them. In a few weeks, see if you notice a difference in your own attitude.
Second, make a list of everything you did right. If you have a family, did they stay well-adjusted throughout your financial ordeal? Did they pitch in and help in age-appropriate ways? How your family coalesces in times of hardship says a lot about your parental influences and how they view you as a role model. That’s a success not to be minimized!
Were you able to keep your house, even as some other things may have slipped away? Did you avoid bankruptcy? If you had to file bankruptcy, did you use it as an opportunity to make adjustments and get back on your feet? That’s what it’s there for, so if you are now able to take that advantage and start a new business, creating jobs and generatingeconomic activity in your community, you deserve to acknowledge that as a positive!
Business building blocks
Once you have your mind in a place of “can” versus “can’t,” you can start to build your business with a new and deserved sense of confidence. Since you are coming from a state of financial disorganization, make a concerted effort to get organized from the outset. This is where a business plan can help. Not everyone finds such a plan necessary, but it helpsformulate your thoughts, keeps your market research and targets on paper and easily accessible, and keeps you accountable for your goals and milestones.
A business plan will also come in handy if you seekoutside funding, such as from investors, partners, or your financial institution. Seeking a cash infusion can remove the stress of depleting your own cash reserves for your business and help your business build a positive credit history. You can also consider seeking funds from friends and family. Crowdfunding may also make sense, withoptions early on in your business formation or down the road for expansion.
It may make sense to hire anadministrative manager to help relieve you of some administrative functions and to help you with the next hires. For many new businesses, hiring salespeople is a necessary early step to get your sales pipeline active and revenue coming in, as well as other staff to handle the ins and outs of the business.
With new employees come accounting and payroll functions, as well as productivity concerns, particularly out in the field. Find an app or platform that lets you get real-time updates from your employees and even equipment off-site. This way, you have visibility on the work being performed. In turn, it makes it easier to schedule work orders and equipment servicing (when needed). Further, GPS mapping gives you an opportunity to streamline travel between work sites. All these translate to maximum productivity, more revenue, and maybe even faster invoice fulfillment.
Expect setbacks in your new business venture, but remember that a setback is not a signal of failure – it’s an opportunity to make a course correction. It’s like changing your tire after you hit a pothole on the road. You take care of the problem, and then you move along to your destination. Your previous failure actually helped prepare you better for the entrepreneurial life than someone who has no experience in dealing with a failure. That experience is part of life’s color palette that allows you to create something out of nothing.