You have permission to publish this article electronically
or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are
included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be
Failing Forward Successfully
By Debbie Allen
Can Mistakes Be Good For Your Business?
Hopefully you make a mistake now and again, because failure can
actually be good for you and your business.† If you havenít made
any mistakes for a while, you may be playing it too close to your
comfort zone and not stretching yourself far or fast enough to
achieve high level goals.† To aim high, you must accept some of
the risks that go along with learning something new.
Risks come with the acceptance that you will make some mistakes
along your journey, but you will want to avoid making costly
mistakes or making the same mistake over and over again.† Use
good common business sense.† Every business and every career has
its share of challenges.† You will constantly be tested in
business as new challenges arise or as your business grows and
You will always be challenged with new areas of your business
that stretch you past your current abilities and expertise.† It
may be a big sale, the start of a new business, a new opportunity
or an extremely difficult challenge.† Yet all failures will help
you learn more about your business and help you build your
self-esteem at the same time.
Learn from your mistakes and move On. (Actually I donít even like
the word mistake; I believe that mistakes are simply challenges
in disguise.) Realistically most of us donít get it right the
first time around.
∑†††††††††† Make mistakes all the time, but the only difference is that
most of the failures go unnoticed because they donít give up.
They keep on going.
∑†††††††††† Make it look easy.† Although itís easy looking in from the
outside, many donít often notice or acknowledge their failures.
∑†††††††††† Evaluate their failures, come up with new solutions to the
challenge and try again Ė this time more educated than the first.
∑†††††††††† Donít allow the fear of failure to stop them from achieving
A study of the failure and challenges of business shows the
ultimate success secrets of any enterprise.† These are the key
lessons an organization learns as they grow, expand and compete
in a changing marketplace.
If you want to create shamelessly fabulous success, study all the
failures.† Most highly successful people were not successful from
the beginning, they had to struggle a little or a lot to reach
their peak potential.† Walt Disney was actually fired from his
first job because he was told that he was not creative enough.
Not creative enough?† Luckily, he didnít listen to his clueless
boss and trusted his own innovative ideas.
We all have a tendency to focus on success and fear failure when
things donít go as planned.† So donít be too hard on yourself if
you feel that you are making too many mistakes to make it to the
top.† Hang in there and be patient. Once you overcome the
challenge, you wonít have to do it again and you will be failing
Success takes time just as it takes time for you to adjust and
learn new skills.† But, be aware that mistakes will continue to
happen even after you have reached a high level of success.† You
will always need to be learning something new in business to stay
innovative and on top of your game.
When you think you have it all figured out and have made all the
mistakes you need to make to learn, something will challenge you
again and test your confidence.† (Iíve been an entrepreneur all
of my adult life and Iím still making mistakes, and plan to keep
making them.† Once I have it all figured out I get bored.) Making
mistakes, turning them into challenges and then overcoming those
obstacles in business is extremely rewarding.† There is nothing
that can challenge, motivate and build your confidence faster.
Mistakes and challenges are going to occur anyway, so the sooner
you learn from them, the sooner you will become more successful
in whatever you do.† Most people tend to reach conclusions about
success, but until success is compared with failures Ė people
donít truly understand the whole story of how business works.
Why Donít They Teach Failure In School?
Failures tend to disappear from business education curriculum?
Information about business failures is often scarce or ignored
completely, yet it is inevitable.† On the other hand, information
on successful companies and their success strategies is in
Companies that pursue unsuccessful strategies either change their
business strategies or they go out of business. A successful
company is described as having used visionary management and
innovative marketing strategies while a failing business is
accused of poor business management and overall bad business
skills.† So why donít we teach future entrepreneurs more about
failure?† Wouldnít that save us a ton of money from mistakes that
could have been avoided in the first place?
Can you imagine telling your banker to add an additional $20,000
for the mistakes that you plan to make in your new business
venture?† They would think you were crazy. Yet that is exactly
what is going to happen while you develop the business.† You
simply must make mistakes to see what works and does not work to
attract new customers. It is necessary to make mistakes as any
business grows.† The reason why franchises have a larger success
rate than independent company start-ups is because they have
already made many of the mistakes and systemized the business
around avoiding them in the future. For the most part, franchises
come with proven success systems that were created out of
learning from past mistakes. So mistakes can indeed be good for
- 30 -
Word Count: 948 words
Bio: Debbie Allen is an international professional speaker who
has presented in nine countries.† She is a well-known self
promotional marketing expert and author of four books.† Her
expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Selling Power and
dozens of other national and international publications.† Her
award winning book, Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters has
been published in four countries.† Download a free chapter of
this insightful book, sign up for your free online marketing
newsletter, and listen and/or view Debbieís dynamic presentations