Successful business founders aren’t successful all the time
You did it. After years of employment, you’ve finally gathered enough information, resources, and courage to do what you really wanted—to start your own business. It starts out good enough with decent revenue. But after a few months, sales slow down. You can’t keep the demand going, you’re having problems with product quality and the cash flow isn’t, well, flowing. And after just a year and a half, you’ve burned through all your cash and almost all your employees have resigned. Then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, it hits you hard—your dream business has failed.
What do you do now? How do you pick yourself up after the one thing you’ve been chasing all your life suddenly seemed impossible to reach? Fret not, dear entrepreneur. As you may have read in countless articles, successful business founders aren’t successful all the time. More often than not, they have failed miserably at some point, just as you did just now. So, here are the things you can do after failing in your first business venture.
1. Take a breather
It may be a short out-of-town vacation, a trip abroad, or even just a trip to the mall, but what is important is that you take time to rest your body and mind. Starting and managing a business is one of the most stressful endeavors you can make, more so if it ends in failure. In fact, a study conducted by the Gallup Organization, which tracks the key factors of wellbeing in the US, shows that entrepreneurs were more likely to feel stressed than other types of workers (45 percent to 42 percent). So, fight the tendency to dive right back into work. Get your mind right first and everything else will follow.
2. Get a job
Getting back into employment isn’t such a bad thing after a failed business venture. For one, the end of your business doesn’t mean the end of your bills, and you will need a source of funds to replenish your cash reserves. Also, after being a business owner, you’d be a lot wiser now and would know how to handle office problems (read: office politics) which could’ve been among the reasons you wanted your own venture in the first place. And lastly, going back to employment doesn’t mean you’re giving up on being an entrepreneur. You could use this time to plan your next venture and learn more about how successful companies operate, all while getting paid.
3. Study again
Take account of and audit your business and yourself to find out what went wrong, and learn more about that specific area. Was the lack of marketing the culprit? Enroll in an online marketing course. Did messed-up accounting cause the negative cash flow? Reach out to an experienced accountant or business owner and get pointers. The key is to quash your ego and be honest to yourself about what you were lacking, so you’ll be much better the next time around. You can also try to learn a new skill (e.g. coding, graphics design) that could be useful in your next business.
This one might be a little low on your priority list, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Having worked on your business 24/7 means that, more likely, your body is more DJ Khaled than Chris Hemsworth at the moment. So it’s best to take the time to get back into shape and get your body pumping out endorphins again. It’s simple, really: A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, which leads to new and creative ideas that can quickly get you over the closing of your first business. Need more proof? Check out why entrepreneurs need to exercise more here.
5. Reconnect with family and friends
Because of the extraordinary amount of hard work it takes to put up and maintain a business, most new entrepreneurs don’t yet have that work-life balance down pat, with life almost always taking the backseat. Being a business owner, you’ve probably skipped more events and get-togethers than you can count, to the dismay of your family and friends. This is the time to reach out to them. Let them know that you’re sorry (as you should be) about the missed anniversaries and birthdays. Remember, they were the ones who supported you and helped you when you were just starting out. Don’t let your intense desire to succeed in business lead you to ignore the more important things in life. And who knows, one of them might even have the idea for your next business.
This list is by no means complete, but the idea here is that there are actually a lot of things you can do after failing in your business other than thinking you’re a failure. Grieve for a while if you must, but take steps (such as the ones above) to avoid being depressed and ineffective. Remember, true entrepreneurs enjoy the process, regardless of the ending.
Cyrian Agujo is a journalist, entrepreneur and host. He plays music sometimes and is not good at sleeping. Blog: medium.com/@cyrianagujo. Twitter: @cyrian_agujo For writing projects: email@example.com