THE BLOG
11/07/2016 11:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Common Benefits of Failure That Entrepreneurs Should Keep in Mind

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Image credit: PhotoDune

While it is human nature to spend a lot of time focusing on the success stories we hear in life, particularly those in our area of business or expertise, it is also a fact of life that failure--  or what some people would simply see as things not going to plan -- occurs often enough too.

If you want to build a successful business and grow as an entrepreneur, you will have to face some setbacks and challenges along the way; if you don't, you're likely not pushing yourself enough or learning anything new. Happily, though, failure can also actually help your business, if you know how to learn from your mistakes. Read on for some common benefits that you can keep in mind today.

Learn Invaluable Lessons


One of the biggest pluses of something not turning out how you wanted is that it gives you the opportunity to learn many invaluable lessons. Take master inventor Thomas Edison as just one example of learning from so-called failure. While Edison was one of the country's most successful innovators, he always had to go through many different attempts along the way to making his inventions work. Indeed, when asked about his failures the famed creator once said, that "I have not failed 10,000 times  -- I've successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work."

If you want to be a long-term entrepreneur, you will need to learn from your mistakes too. The lessons you learn from things not going to plan tend to be things you won't discover any other way, whether through a degree, through a mentor, or from books. Lessons learned first-hand are the ones that stick, after all, and will always be with you, reminding you of what not to do in the future.

During your career in business you are sure to learn invaluable lessons about things such as:
  • The importance of research and planning
  • Forging partnerships with the right people
  • Surrounding yourself with the best team
  • Understanding and tracking finances
  • Making decisions hastily or at times of heightened emotion
  • The importance of small details
Failure can certainly help you to be more cautious in the future, as well as more careful about whom you go to for advice.

Face Your Fears and Face the Facts

Enduring failures in business also helps you to face your fears and to face the facts. While you may not want to do this at first, the end results can be illuminating and more quickly lead you to the success you desire.

For many people, the threat of failure looms over their head all the time and radically affects how they go about their days and what they aim for in life. A benefit of facing failure is that it helps you to face up to your fear and to learn that your whole world won't stop or collapse if you're not successful. Once you own your failure, you can be liberated from this type of fear and go about your business without the added (and often debilitating) pressure of attempting to be perfect.

In addition, having a failure in your business, whether the whole venture doesn't succeed or just a particular product or branch of the firm alerts you to issues with your idea or your process that need to be amended. Facing up to these facts can give you pause and encourage you to conduct more research, analyze your target market better, or spend more time identifying gaps in your sales or admin process, for instance.

Enjoy Increased Clarity, Creativity, and Resilience


There are much more personal benefits to be enjoyed as a result of failure too. Clarity, for example, is a common one. Getting results you weren't hoping for can help you to clear out the clutter in your life and focus in on what it is that you're after in life.

Creativity can also come as a result of a lack of success in an endeavor. Failure tends to create constraints in life (such as limiting the resources you have available), which means that you, in turn, will need to become more innovative and look for fresh possibilities to explore. Often, these constraints will lead you to your best ideas ever.

Facing failure can also build your strength of character. Having to deal with things not going to plan can be a huge test of your grit, resilience, and determination. It can show you that you're much stronger than you realized and that you have more courage than expected. Failure can help to drive you on even more in the future, as it can spur you on to do better next time round.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to failure, the bottom line is that the definition of the word is actually "lack of success," and not a corresponding indictment of a person's entire personality, skill sell, or any other personal element. If you feel disappointed that you didn't receive the results you wanted on a business, product launch, idea or more, take the time to look for the benefits in the experience regardless. This way you will find much to take away, which will help you become a better entrepreneur in the long run.