What do you do after a business failure? If you're struggling with what to do next, be sure to check our list out on how to get back on your feet.
Learning to cope with failure is a part of life, and it is a big part of being an entrepreneur.
You put your dreams and hopes into building something that would keep you secure for the rest of your life, and now, those plans are not going to happen.
Financial loss is only one small aspect of a business failure. You might have many emotions, and grief is one of them.
It is grief over plans and dreams, and there might be a bit of embarrassment attached to it. There might be anger or fear about the future.
How you cope with this loss will determine the potential for your future success. As an entrepreneur, you already have a healthy dose of optimism on your side. Otherwise, you would not have started a business in the first place.
Here are our top 9 suggestions for ways that you can bounce back after a business failure.
Learning From a Business Failure
#1. Realize You Are Not Alone
When it is your business that has failed, you might feel like you are all alone.
It certainly can feel this way, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of all businesses fail in their first year.
By ten years, another two-thirds of those will have failed. This means that a smaller percent succeed than fail.
This might not be any comfort as you liquidate your assets and try to figure out what to do with your life next, but you do not have to feel like you are alone.
Realizing this is the first step to bouncing back.
You also might want to know that for every business that succeeds and makes it, the owner often has several failures under their belt.
The key to bouncing back is whether you allow yourself to focus on the failure or to focus on the opportunities that the future holds.
#2. Take Time to Reflect
The most important thing that you can do is to take time to reflect and do some research. You need to find out why the business failed.
Owning your mistakes and taking an honest look at both what you did wrong and what you did right determines how you will come out of this experience.
Blaming does no good at all, but finding out what you could do to improve will do you a lot of good in the future.
The top reasons for business failure are a lack of need in the market, poor cash flow, not researching the competition, and hiring the wrong team.
If you still have plans for entrepreneurship in the future, then you need to know what went wrong so that you do not repeat the same mistakes the second time.
Even if you are not planning to start another business right away, putting a name on what went wrong can help you understand it and recover from it.
#3. Take Some Time
Depending on your situation, the first thing that you might need to do is to get out your resume and find a job, even if it is just one to hold you over for a while.
Whether you need to find a job right away or not, try to take some time to recover from this loss.
A business failure is not to be taken lightly. It is the biggest fear of most people and the number one reason why many people never start in the first place.
Remember that you were different. You dared to do something that many do not do because of their fears. This makes you a part of an elite class of people.
What this means is that you will come through this, and you will not only survive, but you will use it as a stepping stone to success.
Even if you work for someone else in the future, this experience has given you a better understanding of what it takes to run a business.
This knowledge will make you a better employee or manager for someone else. The key is to not look at it as a bad experience, but rather to look at it as a learning experience.
#4. Focus on Your Strengths
It might be hard right now, but you need to focus on your strengths, both professionally and emotionally.
If you are young, it might be time to seek some advice on how to develop coping skills for getting through this.
For those more experienced in life, you probably already know how to deal with loss. Now is the time to put those skills to good use.
Rather than focusing on what you did wrong and your mistakes, one thing that you might want to do is to get out a piece of paper and write down your strengths.
Make a list of the things that you learned and how they can help you in the future. This gets these ideas down into a concrete form that will allow you to reflect on them as you move forward.
Journaling is one technique that can help with this process.
While you are at it, don’t forget to write down your dreams and plans for the future.
This will not only help you bounce back, but you never know, it might be the start of your next big move and the one that will bring you the success that you desire.
This list will give you something to look at when you need a gentle reminder of just how strong you are.
#5. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help
The spirit and drive that made you decide to pursue this path in the first place, can be your greatest asset and your greatest weakness.
Many entrepreneurs have an independent spirit, and they will often fail to seek help when they need it.
You need to realize that there is nothing wrong with talking to someone or seeking help from a professional or trusted mentor.
If you find yourself becoming down, depressed, or having emotions that you do not know how to deal with, you might consider seeking help.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but instead, it is a sign of strength.
It is a way of tackling your issues head-on so that you can overcome them and move on to your next great adventure.
A professional who is not attached to the situation emotionally can give you insights that might be the key to understanding how to do it better the next time.
They can also be a good resource for helping you to focus and develop a good strategy for the future.
#6. Find Your Courage and Make a Plan
A good plan is a key to business success, and it is also the key to recovery.
You do not need to figure it all out right now, but you do need to know what things are a priority both now and in the near future.
This plan should not only focus on your business and finances but should include your emotional well-being, too. It is time to take some time out and figure out what you need to do.
One of the first things that you should put into your plan is not to make any big decisions until you have had some time to reflect and heal.
You can write down ideas but put them on a schedule to be revisited at a later time when you have put some time and emotional distance between you and the failure.
The most important thing right now is to not allow yourself to get bogged down in the details and trying to do too much at once.
This is going to take some time to recover from, and having a plan will give you a path and series of steps that you can take along the way.
#7. Remember This Is Temporary
One of the biggest lessons from all of this is to understand that the way you feel right now, and your situation is only temporary.
It can feel like it will last forever, but it will not. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you need to stop and ask yourself how you will feel about it in the future.
Ten years down the road, will this time in your life still matter? Putting things in perspective can help you to overcome the challenges that you face right now more easily.
Now is the time to ask yourself how you see yourself in the future. What is in store for the next chapter?
It is easy to become stuck in the situation, and thinking about where you want to go is the fastest way to get moving again and find your drive.
You need to ask yourself the question, if you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
This question can be the start of thinking about what you will do differently the next time around.
This is the quickest way to snap yourself out of a rut and get ready to go out there and make your next big move.
#8. Use This Experience as a Stepping-Stone
Some of the most famous entrepreneurs of some of the biggest corporations in the world achieved their success on the heels of one or a long series of business failures.
If you recently experienced a business failure, you have good company. You are in the same ranks with Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs of Apple Computer.
You might know a few others, such as Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Spielberg, and Elon Musk.
If you have just failed, congratulations! You might be just one step away from your biggest success.
The key is to give yourself the time that you need, and then do what you do best and get prepared for your next move.
Use that entrepreneurial spirit to take the lessons that you learned and get back out there again.
A business failure is a humbling experience, but it also gives you wisdom. You have now faced your worst fear and survived.
Now, you are truly ready to take the lessons learned and try again.
#9. Never Give Up
It is a good thing to take some time and integrate the lessons that you have learned. That means that you will never make the same mistake again or at least not make it in the same way.
See this as a learning experience and nothing more. If you have learned your lessons, the next thing that you need to do is to figure out the next step on the road to success.
Don’t be afraid to dream and dream big. After all, that is where all success stories truly begin.
So What’s Next?
In the world of business, failure to some degree is expected. If you’ve struggled to reach your goals in the past are finally ready to do whatever it takes to reach your goals, then be sure to check out this intense program that can help you achieve any goal in just 100 days.