Friday, September 16, 2011

Dealing with Failure

Failure will happen--particularly in the startup world. Yet, while we all experience failure of some sort, how we respond to these failures can be dramatically different. The differences in these responses are critical and oftentimes determine how successful we will be over the long haul. Below are three different perspectives on the topic of failure: the first an infographic on why startups fail, the second a discussion of a common failure for entrepreneurs (pitching a startup), and the third a more introspective look at dealing with failure personally.

Why Startups Fail
"Building a successful business is every entrepreneur's goal--but only 1 in 12 succeed in doing it. Why do startups fail? The Startup Genome project analyzed data from 3,200 companies and came up with some answers. At the core of any successful business are two things: a good product and a large market for that product. In other words, a startup should be able to scale. And to scale properly, it must balance the growth of five core dimensions: customers, product, team, business model, and funding. The dominant reason for failure: premature scaling of one or more of those dimensions."

"Pitches usually fail because they answer the wrong questions. The right questions depend on the stage of your business—for example, some businesses are just getting started with an idea, while others are printing money. Focus your pitch on the key questions for your stage and if you keep getting non-key questions, something is wrong with your pitch. This post includes a hierarchy that you can use to classify your business and the key questions for each stage in the hierarchy."

"People talk about failure — I talk about failure — as critical to learning. But what if we don't learn? What if we do the same things, repeatedly, hoping for different results but not changing our behavior? Then we are training ourselves to fail repeatedly."

“If you’re having trouble succeeding, fail.” - Kent Beck

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