Mistakes are embarrassing. No one wants to get caught with one, most especially get caught red-handed. However, no matter how much we want to avoid it, mistakes are inevitable because we live in a world that is constantly evolving, changing.
Along with every change is a new learning curve and because we are learning, we are prone to making mistakes, especially in the world of business and entrepreneurship.
Since mistakes are a fact of life, committing mistakes, therefore, is not really the issue. The real issue is how you learn from them because if you don't, you will see yourself in a rut committing the same mistakes over and over again.
In fact, any successful person you'd talk to will tell you that one turning point in their lives is when they committed a mistake. But it is interesting to note, that they didn't stop there - they acknowledged it, they learned from it, and turned their lives around because of it.
Seeing the importance of learning from mistakes is the core of the daily podcast show Business Mistakes. It aims to show others that before one becomes successful, there are obstacles, challenges, and most of all, mistakes. Like the people who commit them, mistakes have many faces. They come in different sizes and shapes as well as in strength. Here are some of the most important lessons from the Business Mistakes podcast.
Gold is in the Details
This has become one of Aaron Walker's mantras after one simple mistake cost him a lot of money: overlooking a detail in a contract he signed. It was too late when he realized that mistake because he cannot get away from it since he already affixed his signature on the contract.
It was a huge blow. However, it did not deter him from moving forward. Instead, the mistake served as a lesson to pay attention even to the most minute of details.
Takeaway: It's much better to sweat over the simplest details at the beginning of every venture than to fix it when everything goes out of hand.
Innovation is the Product of Mistake
Sometimes, mistakes can be caused by a third party. Nevertheless, it directly impacts us, especially our reputation. This is what happened to Paul Jarvis when a technology glitch on his payment processing program started charging his customers more than they expected.
He was supposed to charge his customers only once, but he didn't realize that the program was set in a default to charge monthly.
Even when he changed the settings, the program continued to charge his clients the next month. In order to correct this and prevent his clients from losing their trust in him, he emailed an apology to each of his customers, refunded the money, and upgraded their membership for free.
Sure, it cost him some sizable profit, but his reputation remained intact. What's more amazing, though, is he was able to develop his own payment processing tool - one which is efficient and reliable.
Takeaway: Mistakes are a good learning ground, but a much better place for innovation.
Jump, but Count the Cost First
How often have you heard of people giving the advice to take a leap of faith and just do it? There's nothing wrong with that advice; however, there is a proper time and place to heed that advice, especially if you are an entrepreneur.
Sure it's nice and exciting to start your business venture but if you just dive in without studying your market and its behavior, you are setting yourself up for failure - so take some time to try your business out.
This is what Matt Ward learned after committing numerous mistakes of selecting the wrong market and the wrong customers. Fortunately, he was able to realize that mistake and has become more careful in his selections.
Takeaway: Having a great product is not enough. Having the right market that will actually buy your products is, what's more, important.
Failing to Invest in Yourself is Costly
We often think of investment only in the terms of starting our own business. In the process, we forget the most important aspect we need to invest in - ourselves. This is a mistake that has become one of Jonha Richman's turning points.
She had always thought that since it does not often show tangible results (if you think of it in the short term), investing in herself was just a waste of money. Little did she know that by doing this, she was slowly decreasing her value in the game as well. But like everyone else, she realized this mistake and changed her mindset. From then on, it was an uphill climb.
There are still obstacles, challenges, and new mistakes but because she had learned from her previous mistake, she keeps moving forward, learning and unlearning.
Takeaway: Invest in yourself to learn new skills or improve existing ones. You might not see any tangible results at first, but you will be thankful you learned them as it gives you an edge against the competition.
Learning From Our Mistakes
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."
Such wise words and this is the same maxim the Business Mistakes podcast live by and hope to convey - that we can all learn from each other’s mistakes, and become more dynamic, productive, and successful entrepreneurs.