Nobody likes to fail, do they? But failure is a key facet of the entrepreneurial process. Richard Branson has succeeded with music, telecommunications, travel and even carbonated cola drinks – he’s probably one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in the world. But he too has failed – before he launched Virgin Records as a youth, he’d started a bird-breeding enterprise and also a Christmas-tree growing business, neither of which flourished.
Whilst Branson’s estimated current net worth of £3bn certainly softens the blow of any minor failures early in his career, it’s worth looking at how failure can be a good thing, as long as it’s managed correctly. It’s the act of trial and error that leads many entrepreneurs to success – so, if someone fails, at the very least it means they are trying. Failure only becomes a bad thing if they don’t learn from the experience.
At The Next Web, we mingle with a lot of startups and entrepreneurs, and we often hear about ‘pivots’ – where an initial seed of an idea evolves over time, as the startup better understands what’s needed by the public.
In an interview with serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis a few weeks back, we asked him if there was any way of cutting out the ‘pivoting’ part of a startup’s evolution, and Jason said:
“The best practice today is to get a product in the market and learn. You can’t do it any other way in my mind, at least not for Internet companies.”