You Won't Get It The First Time: Resilience Tips for Startup Founders

Failed once, twice, or more than you care to admit? Take comfort in the thought that you are in good company. The publicized lives of top entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson give us glimpses of them making major mistakes. There are also many distilled, or summarized, versions of how they bounced back. These are where your silver lining lies.

Jobs made a triumphant comeback. Gates only gets better — and richer. Branson lives as a legend. Like these guys, you have to take action. Remember that there is value in committing errors, and that is knowing what works and what does not. Remember that failures are an important part of the creative process. Then muster your resilience using the following tactics.

Understand where you failed

After aircraft missions, pilots and intelligence officers take part in a debriefing process. It includes analyzing how well objectives were met (or not) and identifying intelligence errors. In both your personal and professional lives, make time for a debriefing process as well. It’s up to you how to structure it at home and at work. It could be a nightly ritual, a quarterly meeting, or a half-year evaluation.

The goal is to achieve a moment of clarity in which you understand the impact of and come to terms with your failures. It also helps if you distinguish between failing because you were at fault and failing because of something/somebody else.

Remove obstacles and change fast

So you are done dealing with the psychological and emotional aspects of failure. Time to become your business' tactician. Get your eyes on the prize. That does not mean you will micromanage all the teams, but act as their guiding light.

For example, a sudden growth in your e-commerce company revealed some weak spots. Organizing and managing a huge inventory and running a large-scale project created issues in overall productivity. In turn, your customer service fell flat. Perhaps it is time to adopt a technological solution, such as implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Use business intelligence efforts to decide the best course of action and be ready for the next mission.

Listen to your customers

Did you launch too many products that failed? Don’t worry. Jobs had multiple misfires at Apple, too. But if that is not enough consolation, then you should really focus on whose stories matter to your company: the customers.

Say, your new tactic is to devise an app in order revitalize sales and spark interest in your brand. What important details about your customers should you apply during design and development? Their top points of engagement, such as catchy headlines and captivating photographs, make one. The brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text-based content. So you might want to use images smartly in your app’s interface.

Observe your competitors

Looking at your competitors in the wake of a devastating failure may sound counterproductive, if not painful. But observing them carefully can also work to your advantage. For instance, are they doing well in getting their brand and products recognized and patronized? You might even find their content going viral.

It is not just about psyching and telling yourself “Hey, my company can do better!” Perhaps, the highest benefit you can get from observing your rivals is having the chance to also see your business from a different perspective. Maybe you will realize that your marketing needs an extra oomph to boost engagement. How about jazzing up your About Page or making your content viral with infographic marketing?

Test, optimize, repeat

Speaking of viral, YouTube video stars know a thing or two about it. But some of the most-watched videos are products of luck. Internet sensation Tai Lopez, however, believes that there is a method behind the digital madness. From this idea your final tactic springs, and that is: keep trying. Keep creating things because that is the only way you will know what works and what won’t. At the same time, split-test versions of your product. Then optimize the features of the better performer based on data and feedback.

Never ever think that you are finished when one of your creations tanks or that your company is on the brink of chaos. Your latest screw-up may just be your biggest power-up yet.

Featured Image Courtesy of Pixabay