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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Failure- it’s Not if, it’s How

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

Why do we never learn how to fail? When we are mere children, we are taught a right way to do almost everything.  If we follow that path, we get a gold star or a smiley face.  If we don’t and we fail, we end up sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on.

This mentality creates an aversion to taking risk.  However, risk is correlated to rewards and if we want a big reward, we have to be willing to take on risks, make mistakes and sometimes fail.

Instead of avoiding failure, you have to learn how to fail.  The process that I subscribe to, which in various parts is attributed to many entrepreneurs and thought leaders that have preceded me, is a three step process:

Fail fast, fail cheaply and never fail the same way twice.

Failing Fast: Time is truly a commodity at a premium. If you spend too much time on a project, venture or business and then find out that it doesn’t work, the stakes and the opportunity costs are high.  If you are going to fail, endeavor to do so quickly; if it doesn’t work out, move quickly to tweak your efforts or abandon them for something else.

Failing Cheaply: If you spend your life’s saving on a project and put all of your eggs in one basket, you are creating very high stakes around its success. Instead, create a budget that you are willing to utilize to test out a project or a variety of projects.  That changes a financial catastrophe into a learning experience.

Never failing the same way twice: It’s entirely ok to fail.  In fact, it should be an expectation. However, it is not ok to fail the same way again and again.  Failure is part of the testing process when you take risk.  But, you have to be able to learn from the failures and do something different the next time.  If you do the same thing over and over and expect different results, that is the Einstein definition of insanity. I see far too many business owners that aren’t able to learn from their mistakes, which hampers their business growth (and sometimes breeds more failure). So, be sure to know your takeaways and grow as you take on risk.

What are your thoughts around embracing the notion of failure?  Share below.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth