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The Art of Failing Fast

Churchill

Our society tells us that failure is a bad thing. We should try to avoid making mistakes, if we get the answer wrong we’ll fail the test. As a business owner you need to embrace failure, you need to welcome it and become its friend. You need to be okay with the fact that you will probably make the ‘wrong’ decision most of the time. This is how entrepreneurs learn, there is no textbook.

My measure of success for any start-up business is not necessarily how much money you make, but rather how quickly you can learn.

Learning doesn’t happen in the writing of a perfectly designed business plan, learning happens when you step foot into the arena and launch your business however unprepared you may think you are, and begin to fail forward.

A startup business is simply a temporary organism designed to find a viable business model. When you are in the startup phase of business you are a teenager that doesn’t know what you want to be when you grow up. You want to grow up, you probably want to grow up in a hurry, we just don’t know what you’re going to look like when you do.

The only way we can find a profitable business model is through what’s called iteration. Launch something (a product, a marketing campaign, a new project), figure out what doesn’t work, bring it back in, change. Launch again, figure out what doesn’t work, bring it back in, change. Launch again, figure out what doesn’t work, bring it back in, change. This is the job of any early stage business – to make decisions, implement quickly, monitor the success or otherwise of the project and make improvements rapidly. Iterate.

This is our advantage. While larger organisations are having meetings about having meetings, drafting up strategy documents, getting sign off from several layers of management, running it through their legal team, we as early stage businesses are moving. We are in the arena, engaged with the consumer, working out what they want and what they don’t want, and figuring out a better way of development and delivery.

It was John Ilhan, founder of Crazy Johns and number one on the inaugural BRW Young Rich List in 2002 with a personal net-worth of $200m, which rose to $300m the next year, who said…

“If you want to become successful twice as fast, double the amount of mistakes you’re making.”

As a business owner you will make more ‘mistakes’ in a week than most people do in a year, this is what is required if you are to truly succeed.

Image credit: gareth1953 the original via photopin cc

About Jack Delosa


Jack Delosa is an entrepreneur and investor who is changing education. He is the founder and CEO of Australia’s largest education institution for entrepreneurs, The Entourage. He is also an investor in growth companies such as Q-Biotics, Martin Jet Pack (ASX:MJP) and eMerchants (ASX:EML), and founded The Entourage Growth Fund, which invests in upstart businesses. He is one of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs, having been listed in the BRW Young Rich List since 2014.

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