We’ve all had days in the office we’d rather forget, decisions we wish would have gone the other way, news we would have rather never received. This is the one thing that all entrepreneurs share in common – at one time or another you will have to accept that you’ve failed.
The thing that sets us apart is how we choose to deal with the failure. As yesterday’s guest blog pointed out, we can all have 20/20 vision when it comes to hindsight. So how do the world’s leading entrepreneur’s deal with setbacks? One person who’s had more than his fair share is Richard Branson.
“My nickname is Dr. Yes. I can't resist a challenge. And I've certainly said yes to too many things in my life. Therefore, not everything has worked out. Fortunately, most of the things I've said yes to were small ideas, just starting from scratch. So if they didn't work out, it wouldn't damage us too much financially or rummage the brand too much,” confessed the Virgin Group Founder in a recent entrepreneur.com interview.
While many of Branson’s mistakes occurred early on in his business career, there are a few more prominent ones that he and the Virgin Group have had to take on the chin, as he later concedes in the interview.
“With Virgin Cola, we should not have assumed big means sleepy - we should have prepared for the largest global soft drink company to fight back. The experience certainly hasn't stopped us from taking on other Goliaths though.
“At Virgin, we don't spend much time regretting the past, and we don't let mistakes or failures get to us, and we certainly don't fear failure. We picked ourselves up and tried again and searched for opportunities in other gaps in the market.”
The business world is full of tales of people making it happen after being faced with failure, with Steve Jobs being another classic example. The college dropout, fired tech executive and unsuccessful businessman ending up spearheading one of the world’s most successful and iconic brands.
So, have you got an example of how you’ve managed to bounce back from an error of judgement? Do you think it’s important to let failures shape the decision making process in future projects? Or do you, in the words of Richard Branson, think “screw it, let’s do it”?