Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mistakes in Running a Business

"There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from." ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

As I go around and talk to entrepreneurs, one of the most common statements that I hear is, "It was a mistake when I did--- ." Somehow, we all feel as if we should have been wise enough to avoid making mistakes. I am here to say that this is a false notion. Mistakes are part of life and perfection is just not achievable. I have never met a perfect entrepreneur nor will there ever be one.

Mistakes are just going to happen, period! If you go back and think about how you define mistakes it is with hindsight that you wish you had made another decision. However, at the time you made your original decision, you really made the best decision you could have with the knowledge and facts that you had on hand at that moment.

While mistakes are going to happen, I encourage you not to beat yourself up about these. So many folks just keep whipping themselves over and over for the "poor" decisions they have made. Has this whipping ever made you feel better? It has never helped me! Rather than beating yourself up, use the quote above by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross to find out what you can learn from this experience. For example, if you find that you believe that workers have been taking advantage of you because you have been too nice or too giving, ask yourself what you can learn from this experience. Some things of value that may be learned here include:

It is okay to say "no" to associates,
I do not need my associates to like me,
or I need to be firmer.

Mistakes are a way to grow. As we learn what works and what does not work, we learn how to adapt and prosper. Now I am not advocating for you to go out and deliberately make mistakes, rather I am suggesting that mistakes aid you in becoming a better entrepreneur. If you ask the most prosperous entrepreneurs where they learned the most, without hesitation, they will always respond: "from their mistakes."

Obviously, if you are at a critical juncture with your business, then you need to insure that, if a bad decision is made, it will have the smallest impact possible. Reducing the risk or cost of making a mistake, really helps you to make better decisions for your business. One great way to help in this process is to talk to as many people as possible about this decision. These people should be knowledgeable in the area of your concern.

The type of mistakes that you really do need to examine very carefully are the ones that you repeat over and over. If you find that you are making the same mistake, then you are not learning what you need to learn from this experience. I think a great concept is that "we want to make new mistakes and not repeat old mistakes."

Mistakes are a fact of life and are inescapable. We must carefully examine our mistakes and learn something from each of them if we are going to prosper from the learning experiences presented to us.

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with you. Mistakes can be avoided, but this is where we learn. This is an experience that we should take-in and learn from. If you're an entrepreneur or planning to be one, then ready yourself for unavoidable "mistakes" that'll come your way. Do you think that all the top businessmen in the world never failed in their career? After a failure or making a mistake, what you should do is determine your weak points then improve on that, so you won't have to make the same mistakes twice.

    Tammie Teeter