As we look around at the successes of the modern world we live in, you may be forgiven for thinking that the human race has been exceptionally successful. The microchip, automobiles, phones, computers, electricity, the whole progression of the human race has been built upon it’s successes. Well actually no it hasn’t, we are here because of our ability to build upon failures and using reason to make sure failure doesn’t happen again. This is the story of the world we see around us today. Failure built our world.
So it is in business. In Ireland we seem to think upon failure as an expression of the person. The business failed because the person running the business is a failure. They didn’t think of that silver bullet that kept them afloat or turned their company around. Our bankruptcy laws are testament to this fact; it now takes twelve years to be released from the bracket of bankruptcy. Our banks (whats left of them) tend to frown upon those who have shown business failure by looking at how they have failed, but never ask ‘So you failed in your last business venture, but what did you learn from it?’. When we view failure in this country we see as a stick to beat people with, instead what we should be doing is asking what they have learned and in turn learn from them.
In the USA the bankruptcy laws are designed to ensure quick turn around from failure to success for entrepreneurs (not dodgy bankers wanting to escape the wrath of an Irish public and pay back the people he worked for!). To have a company that has failed before has become a badge of honor, a item to say look what I did before, I have learned from my failure. In Ireland we need to change our thinking about failure in business. We have it built into our psyche that to fail is to be a failure yourself. This is not true, nor should we endorse such an idea. To fail is to learn and we must treat it as such.
Greater desire for success
When I embarked out on my voyage of discovery with our magazine I had all the ideas in the world and of course they were all going to work! We were going to create the best business magazine in Ireland, get it on every shelf and give small business something that was just for them. But it didn’t work out that way and I failed. But with that failure came a greater desire for success. I took the what I had done wrong and began to move it with. Now we are launching a brand new website dedicated to SMEs with a podcast, news and information, specialised articles and within a few months videos. I don’t mind telling you that I failed because I can also tell you why I failed…I didn’t listen to the failures before me. If your business is failing or you have failed ask yourself what you have learned and soon you’ll realise your ‘failure’ has become your biggest asset.
Irish business needs to begin to change it’s attitude towards failure and needs to realise that Failure is an option.