Business Failure — You Do Have One, Don’t You?

There’s an idea among some venture capitalists that no entrepreneur is investable if s/he hasn’t already had a business failure. The idea is that someone who’s already done it may better recognize the million little pieces of evidence leading up to an eventual failure. The understanding is they’ll be more sensitive to those signals when they notice them the second time around. They’ll be more likely to try new strategies. They’ll be better stewards of an investment at later attempts.

We humans have a sometimes-toxic desire to look good. We resist looking bad or being embarrassed at any opportunity. The result is we also may have a tendency to avoid sharing or discussing facts that could be interpreted negatively. For example, we might hide information, or we might dress up a presentation or fact pattern to overstate the positive and understate the negative.

For someone who survives and learns from a failure, there is likely a greater likelihood of sharing negative information and enrolling team members to manage the situation sooner. Someone who hasn’t effectively managed through and dealt with failure may be more likely to repeat the errors of the past one more time.

There are many victims of business failure:
  • owners lose passive income and equity,
  • employees lose jobs and personal income,
  • the remaining happy customers must find a new supplier and processes to manage that new relationship, and
  • competitors must accommodate the influx of new business, without sacrificing service and product quality.
  • Can you name others?

I once had a small business, and I eventually learned I was better at running the business than selling new business. Eventually, work ran out and I went to work in a “real job” in a salaried role for a large corporation. It’s been humbling to see how much more I had to learn, to effectively share and sell a business. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to develop myself in those areas!

Later, I once started a business with relatives. I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work for me. Winding it up had a brief negative impact on our relationships.

Consider And Act

  • What failures have you had that were difficult to discuss at first, but eventually you overcame?
  • Have you ever been involved in a business failure? What were the costs to you and other stakeholders?

 

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Hi, I’m Dylan Cornelius.
I was passed over for promotions four times in three years, every time passed over by a peer. My marriage was a wreck. I was obese and my doctor threatened to medicate me if I didn’t lose weight.
When I calculated the per-hour value of my overtime at work, the additional money in my bonus didn’t justify the costs to my health, relationships, and personal satisfaction.
After five years of hearing me complain, my brother told me to stop complaining or do something about it. I was stunned that it had been so long.
After a long and expensive search, I realized the quality of my relationships was poor and I wasn’t taking care of other people or myself.
When I committed to creating fantastic relationships and high-performing teams in every area of my life that mattered, my life transformed.
I was promoted. Now I’m picked to lead teams and frequently thanked for my contribution.
While my marriage didn’t survive, I met an amazing woman who trained me for my first two marathons, and now I do triathlons for fun. I lost 50 pounds and controlled my diet, allergies, and autoimmunity.
Now my “Honey Bunny” and I tour for weeks at a time on a tandem bike. Soon, we’ll cross countries and continents.
I created a Team Acceleration Blueprint based on my personal development journey and decades of education and experience building and leading teams at some of the best universities and companies on the planet.
I believe the world can work for everyone. It starts with clarity of purpose, fantastic relationships, and high-performing teams. I intend to help 10,000 people create an unfair advantage and achieve results they didn’t believe were possible too.

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