A harsh, but necessary truth of the business world- you will fail more often than you will succeed. It's one of the most valuable lessons that I've learned while running MPC. After realizing the painful reality of this statement, I was forced to believe that my struggles were a sign of an imminent breakthrough and that success was sure to follow. I often turned to the legendary stories of entrepreneurs who faced challenges and setbacks that paved the way to their greatest achievements. However, after experiencing one roadblock after another, I empathize with so many that have thrown in the towel.
The Small Business Administration sites that over 50% of new businesses experience total failure within the first year, and 95% within the next five - a clear indication that failure is to be expected. It may be surprising that only 5% of businesses last long enough to celebrate their five-year anniversary, but there IS light at the end of the tunnel! First, and most importantly, challenges must be accepted and worked into every business's strategy as part of the fight for success.
Once my team members began to accept that “failing” is an integral part of the business experience, MPC began to grow more comfortable in working as a united, efficient team. This brings us to lesson number two - use failing to your advantage! Learn and cultivate your business process to ensure that with each failed attempt will come a learning opportunity.
Ken Blanchard's One Minute Manager was critical in cultivating the process of turning each negative into a positive within our team environment. There is one stipulation to the formula - you must learn from your failures and you must avoid repeating your mistakes!
With the acceptance and incorporation of failing into our business, we embraced a new mantra, "Execute. Fail. Adjust. Failure does not Equal Failure" We realized that we were not committed to a philosophy of continued failure, but instead to one that would drive us into action. Once in motion, we quickly gained momentum in staying vigilant in identifying mistakes, logging setbacks and communicating our challenges. Constant course corrections were made until we found the smoothest processes in remaining true to our mantra.
If you doubt that failing is a key ingredient of the formula for success, take a moment to ask yourself how many MS Windows and Office updates, upgrades and remakes you have purchased and installed. I helped build two, enterprise software companies from 1996 to 2001 and one, the B2B solution for the hotel and gaming industry, experienced the 5th largest gain per share of all the IPOs in 1999. No products were complete or fully functional when we released the alpha or beta versions. Our first clients helped determine which features would stay, which would be removed and which would be added to the final product. Today, our Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software has provided contact management solutions for clients all over North America. The success of our CRM software did not come over night. What made my companies successful was our team's ability to execute, fail and adjust.