Small Business Letter From America – there’s no success like failure

As the economy of the USA churns through uncertainty, as businesses along our gulf coast are impacted by hurricanes, and as our quadrennial election season tortures us with partisan politics, I …

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18th September 2008 at 7:32 pm

uspostageAs the economy of the USA churns through uncertainty, as businesses along our gulf coast are impacted by hurricanes, and as our quadrennial election season tortures us with partisan politics, I want to ask you, what’s your attitude towards failure?

Businesses will fail today due to the economy, due to disaster, due to health issues, due to mistakes, and due to a myriad of other reasons. The question is, what will those business owners do? In the USA, the odds are high that the entrepreneur in question will be back to start another business in the future. It has to do with our attitude towards failure.

I’m a big fan of failure. Why would anyone be a fan of failure? Because failure is a necessary part of learning, of activity, of business. If you are not experiencing any failures, you probably aren’t moving.

Barry Moltz wrote a whole book on failure, called Bounce! He points out that the American attitude towards business failure is perhaps the most tolerant in the world. That’s not much solace in the face of a big failure, as even Moltz admits.

But if you can’t accept the possibility of failing, you’ll never move forward.

Small business owner Rex Hammock said this back in 2000:

Even smart businesses managed by smart individuals and smart investors die. Businesses start and die every day. They always have. They always will. I am old enough – and have been fortunate enough – to have succeeded significantly and failed miserably and frankly, the failures have done more for me than the successes.

Becky McCray

Becky is a small town entrepreneur in America. She writes about small business and rural issues, based on her own success and failures, at her blog Small Biz Survival. She is the co-owner of a small town retail liquor store and cattle ranch. She also helps tourism related businesses from Oklahoma to Africa to maintain their web presence and rural nonprofits and governments with grant writing and project administration. http://www.smallbizsurvival.com/

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  1. Justin Gough says:

    I think Failure is a good part of starting and owning your own business.

    You learn something every time and if you give it a second shot, you will do a better job

    Justin

  2. Hi Justin, what failures have you had to overcome? Any examples you’d like to share?

  3. Clive Birnie says:

    I don’t know the stats but I know of a few people now running established and successful businesses in my network who went to the wall and started again. Failure is of course an opportunity as well. If Lamont Holdings PLC hadn’t failed we would have got so good a deal when we bought Severn Delta from its ashes. I guess my attitide to having the stones to take the punt knowing you may well fail is well documented.

    Like the small business letter from America format though.Is is going to be a regular feature? I hear small town manufacturing is doing ok in the face the storm – think there is something in that that we can learn from here.

  4. Hi Clive, yes Becky’s agreed to carry on writing a letter from America each month for a while (thanks Becky!).

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