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How to turn setbacks in business to your advantage

For an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel disillusioned after a setback but, here’s why this can actually be a great thing for your business.

How to turn setbacks in business to your advantage

Starting out as an entrepreneur is incredibly exciting – and also a little bit scary as it carries with it an inherent risk of failure.  When beginning your journey, you will almost certainly make mistakes and experience setbacks. But while these can be disappointing, they’re actually often really good news for your business.  When I first co-founded Momentum, I ended up losing £400,000.  Pretty devastating, right?  Absolutely, but you know what, it actually helped me to become a better businessman. And, in this article, I’ll take you through the steps you need to turn your setback into a leap forward, says Daniel Wood, the co-founder of Momentum Property Education.

A learning curve

Learning from our mistakes is vital in both our personal and our professional lives.  If you’ve suffered a setback in your entrepreneurial journey, it’s important to properly examine what went wrong in order to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

When we started, we were on a high. We were raising finance, we were doing deals, and we had a mentor who we thought knew everything and had our best interests at heart. And then, in our first four deals we lost money. Not just a little, significant amounts on each and every one. And the cumulative loss was about half a million pounds. We panicked, lost focus. Then the call from the accountant came: it was time to bankrupt our company. 

It was the hardest time. But we worked hard. Sought advice on how to restructure both our debt and our company. And 100 or so property deals later we were able to turn our business around. 

I wish it had been an easier ride. I wish that we could have avoided all that stress. But in the end, it has proven to be a really valuable experience. I learnt so much in that time, and my business is better, and stronger for it. So, when you fall flat, give yourself a short period of time to feel sorry for yourself. Then it’s time to dust yourself off and move forward.

One vision

Often, you become so immersed in the original vision for your business that you become a little blinkered.  When your business has encountered a bump in the road, it may be time to revamp your vision and consider some new ideas to give the business a new lease of life. 

Without our initial failure, our business model would likely have gone unchanged. And while, with better advice, we may have managed to turn a profit, we wouldn’t have had the vision to turn it into the resilient and scalable proposition that it is today.

The comfort zone can be a dangerous place for an entrepreneur. Disappointments, mistakes, and failures provide the opportunity to explore new ideas and perspectives. The trick is to remember to keep on doing that, even when things are going well.

No man is an island

When you’ve worked hard to get your business off the ground, it’s often tempting to try to do everything yourself. The problem is, when you’re juggling too many balls, you’re bound to drop one or two along the way.

We sought a mentor from the start, admittedly, that didn’t work out so well for us! But that’s largely because A) we were too trusting, and B) we put all of our faith in one person. When we were trying to save our business, we hunted for advice everywhere we could find it. And while there is such a thing as information overload, that’s where your instincts come into play.

So, don’t be afraid to seek advice from friends, family, and professionals within your industry. They may be able to provide a different perspective on your business. Or to reassure you that you’re doing the right thing.

Putting your business on the map

Before forging ahead with your business after a setback, you need to put together a viable plan for growth. It’s natural to feel disillusioned when something goes wrong but, the worst thing you can do is keep ploughing forward without a comprehensive map for the journey ahead. 

As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail and a comprehensive growth plan will help you to stay on track as you recover and move forward.

There’s no doubt that a setback in your business can be difficult to overcome but, by learning from your mistakes, inviting fresh ideas, and using the setback as a springboard for growth, you can turn that frown upside down and emerge stronger than ever as you move your business forward.

More on growing your business and how to recover from business failure.

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