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Fail More to Fail Less - 7 Simple and Strategic Steps to Startup Success

Friday, May 6, 2016   (0 Comments)
Share | 05/06/16


Are you an entrepreneur? Do you dream big? Are you committed to success? Then prepare to fail...often. 

Henry Ford went broke five times while J.K. Rowling failed to sell her Harry Potter manuscript 12 times. 

“I failed, many times in my life,” stated Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post. “One failure that I always remember was when my second book was rejected by 36 publishers.” 

It is frightening, and worse can be paralyzing, to think there is a good chance you might fail. But failure is not only a reality of entrepreneurship, it is essential to startup success. 

“You need to fail a lot in order to fail less,” says Simon Nynens, Ernst & Young 2011 New Jersey Entrepreneur of the Year and CEO of Wayside Technology Group. 

Nynens guidance strikes a chord with award winning entrepreneur Sam X Renick. Renick is an inductee into Loyola Marymount University’s Wall of Honor for entrepreneurs and a pioneer in early age financial education. 

“We arrived at an executable strategy for Sammy Rabbit’s Dream Big Campaign much quicker than we did with prior ventures. Why? Past failures. Oodles of them. Failure perfects execution, if you give it the opportunity.” 

So, how much failure does it take to succeed? Consider these thoughts from Bill and Melinda Gates 2016 Annual Letter regarding the need for an “energy miracle” to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. 

“We need lots of ideas. Many of these ideas won’t work, but that’s okay. Each dead end will teach us something useful and keep us moving forward.” 

So how do we do it? How do we leverage the lessons of failure and transform them into startup success? Simon Nynens’ offers seven simple and strategic steps. You will find them below and in his Thomas Scholl Lecture at Stevens Institute of Technology titled, ‘How to Fail Less’. 

Give yourself room to fail 
It's what you learn from failing that matters, so plan failure into your process. 

Specialize in what you are good at 
Leverage your assets. It is easier to improve your strengths than trying to force your weaknesses. 

Start with the end in mind 
Think backwards. Reverse engineer the success you want. This is a principle from Stephen Covey’s book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ Begin with the end in mind. 

Build a strong foundation 
It is important to build from a solid base. Otherwise, everything you build is at risk. 

Speak your truth, in a kind way 
Be courageous. Stand up for what you believe in, but in a way that does not offend others. They will be more willing to listen. 

Be wise, listen to feedback 
Feedback is meant to "feed you." Do not fight it. Remember, the people who give you “critical” feedback are the best people. If you want to have great products that last, you need to know what is and what is not working. 

Think of simple solutions first 
Don’t overcomplicate what you have to do. Focus on the small victories you can stack upon each other to create momentum. 

As you embrace your entrepreneurial journey remember two things: one, every failure brings you a step closer to success, and, two, you can do it. Now, go get to it! 

What tips do you have for conquering failure quicker and having startup success sooner? 

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