What to Do When Your Business Fails

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BY ANN BROWN

Nearly 96 percent of all small businesses will fail within the first 10 years, according to the latest stats. This is a hard fact to swallow for many small business owners who are trying to live out their entrepreneurial dreams. But the reality is, more fail than succeed at small business ownership.

There will be undeniable signs that your business is on its last legs. “Signs of failure include little to no passion for the work you do. Signs also include debt and lack of ROI in the business, and winging it in your business and being a one man team,” says personal and professional development coach Lucinda Cross, founder of Activate Worldwide Inc.

“There are several signs that your small business is going to fail which are some of the obvious ROI indicators: your phone isn’t ringing, your products aren’t selling, and your balance sheet is upside down,” adds business coach Tiffany Bowden, co-founder of ComfyTree Enterprises and Minority Cannabis Business Association.

“There are other factors however that people don’t think about that are more internal, psychological, or energy-based to consider. Do you love your work? Or are you doing it because you think it will make money? If it’s for the latter only– you will fail. If not in the short term, in the long term because it will come out in your customer service policies and engagement, your employee morale, marketing efforts and other core business elements. You will come off as insincere and you will not have the passion necessary to carry you forward. A scarcity mindset in starting a business–that is only thinking about making money for yourself misses the bigger picture of what you need to win at a macro level.”

But the key to such a personal and professional failure is how you take it and what your next steps will be.  “Look at failure as an opportunity to reinvent your brand and your business,” says Cross.

Get ready for your next move. “Team up with a mentor or business advisor to rework your business plan and approach. Consider coming up with creative ways to get access to capital as well as gain clients,” suggests Cross.

Try to look on the positive side. Celebrate the failure. Create a celebration based on the failing forward. Pat yourself on the back for going through the storm of running a small business and give yourself permission to go at again and this time succeeding and climbing the ladder to the top.

Not everyone should be an entrepreneur, and realize that is okay. “If being an entrepreneur is changing your characters or causing you overwhelming stress and illness. Do not put your health at risk for the sake of entrepreneurship,” advises Cross.

3 Tips on How to Deal When Your Business Dreams Die

1) Success can mean a lot of different things. “Redefine what winning looks like: Go for creating win-win scenarios and put your energy into things that drive the greatest possible outcome. Sometimes the marketplace does this for you by forcing you into failure,” notes Bowden.

2) Learn from the experience: “Take all failures as lessons only. Every setback is a setup for a comeback. You learn more from failure probably from success. The lessons you learn will save you lots of money, time and energy in the future,” says Bowden.

3) It really isn’t personal. “Don’t take anything personally. Customers are not rejecting you as a being. Business partnerships gone awry are not a negation of your purpose. While you feel things personally if you take your pain and turn it into purpose versus wallowing in it you will see opportunity and growth versus lack,” offers Bowden.