Failing Fast

In a science lab there is as much to learn from failure as there is success. The same is true in business. The problem is, it sucks.

There are very few entrepreneurs who are comfortable with the idea of losing it all. Even when it appears to be the case, they will postpone the inevitable – one more loan, extend the credit cards, work even harder. It is damn hard to let go of a dream. It is painful to lose other’s money, to lay off staff, and to finally admit it’s over.

There are lots coming-back-from-the-brink-of-disaster stories, but your’s won’t be one of them. If you are going to fail – fail fast. It is noble to hang on for the investors and your staff but understand, if it’s not working out – you are in the majority. Most businesses don’t make it past five years. It’s ok. You gave it all you had – giving some more won’t make a difference.

Business is tough even when it’s good. This isn’t about ditching because it’s hard. It’s about drawing the line when there are no sales, increasing expenses, and little to no light at the end of the tunnel. Stop. Just stop.

It is likely the hardest of all decisions – to make the call that enough is enough. Embracing failure is not a well practiced skill for most. But, to hold on too long and drag things past the point of no return – that serves no one. Investors understand, that’s why it’s called ‘risk’ capital. Employees will find other work. And you will recover and live to fight the good fight another day.

As in the lab, there is always a next time. A failed result is often an indicator of what it will take to succeed.

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