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  • Writer's pictureDeon Stokes

You Failed In Business, Now What? 5 Steps To Becoming a Professional Failure

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

News Flash! We are all going to fail at some point, whether it’s a class, a driving test, or even at starting a business. When starting a business, you are already taking a huge risk, actually, that is the definition of Entrepreneurship - ye that takes the financial risk in hopes of a profit. According to Fundera “20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business” (

So, yeah… the likelihood of failing is kinda huge, so it makes you wonder why so many people are willing to risk so much to follow their dreams.

When/if your business fails, I know it seems like it’s the end of the world but trust me, it’s not. I live my life by two quotes and those are “everything happens for a reason” and “its not how you fall, it’s how you get back up”.

Here are some tips to help you become a professional failure.

#1 - Take Time and Accept Your Professional Failures

Acceptance. I am not saying that you are not going to be sad and that it's not going to hurt. It might hurt for a long time but acceptance is a major part of failing forward. You are to take the time to grieve the loss of your last big idea or break through. The best part of taking this time is that typically when you're in bed with a pillowcase full of tears the next big idea falls on your head. Now, when this has happened to me its the last thing you want to hear, but take note. Write it down. You never know, it might be worth coming back to in the future.

#2 - Analyze Were Things Went Wrong

Take a long hard look at what went wrong. Maybe your quality of the product could’ve been better or maybe you set your prices too low or too high or you were to early to market [this is the ones that hurt the most]. The reason that things go wrong are often out of your control but this is the time to regroup and salvage what you can from your failed business plan. Often the business is not a complete fail, it’s just an opportunity to pivot.

#3 - Go Back to Your 9 to 5

Now, let me be clear - I am a cheerleader for entrepreneurs but I don’t believe that anyone should forfeit their basic living needs to start a business. There are some very inspirational movies and stories about those who have chosen to be homeless to follow their dreams but there is nothing wrong with working your idea as a side hustle until it can become your full-time hustle.

#4 - Surround Yourself with Positive Vibes

Nothing can kill a dream and momentum faster than haters. Make sure and surround yourself with positive people who are cheering for you. Don’t tell everyone your dreams - show them. It is hard to find the people who are truly rooting for you but once you do allow them to inspire you. Find a mentor or have an advisory team. There is nothing wrong with being “solopreneur”. Most of the times, it's easier to do business when you do not have to consult others on your ideas, however, do man is an island. Surround yourself with people who are invested in your success.

#5 - Fail Up

You can only be successful if you have failed first. The goal is to be a successful- failure. When you fail the goal is to learn, grow, and do it fail up. Every failure is an opportunity to not have to repeat that mistake in your next venture. Remember, failures happen for you, not to you. Yes, we take failing personal but often our mistakes, missteps and mistakes are for our good. They lead to new and fresh innovation. Welcome failures with open arms, just are ready to fail forward.

For more information on how to removing the shame and isolation associated with failing in business watch the Failure Report.

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