Starting a business is a daring venture, and the reality is that not all businesses survive the rocky journey of entrepreneurship. According to the Office for National Statistics, approximately 20% of businesses face failure in their first year and a staggering 60% go bust within their first three. While these numbers might seem discouraging, it's essential to understand that failing is not the end, but a stepping stone toward success!

Why do businesses fail?

Cash flow issues including a lack of funding, neglecting customer service, poor marketing, and misaligned strategies, are just some of the numerous challenges and wasted resources that can lead small and large businesses alike to fail.

It is vital that entrepreneurs do not treat failure as a reason to quit. Many extremely successful entrepreneurs experienced major setbacks at the start of their careers. Take it from the pros. Bill Gates, James Dyson, Arianna Huffington and even Coco Chanel stumbled before they soared. The key is to adopt a mindset of viewing failure as a valuable learning opportunity - turning setbacks into the groundwork for future success.

Turning failure into success: analyse, adapt, and improve

If things don’t work out perfectly, gather the relevant individuals and review together what went wrong and conduct a thorough review of your processes, considering alternative approaches and identifying areas for improvement. By pinpointing gaps or errors, and tweaking your existing processes, you can start to chart a clearer path forward. Remember that mistakes are gold mines of learning; and if handled right, you won't be repeating them.

Shifting your mindset of personal and professional failure in this way lessens failure’s negative impact; where every setback becomes a chance to acquire new insights, bringing individuals closer to their ultimate goals. In this context, failure is not a roadblock but a proactive path toward progress and success.

Learning from mistakes

Successful entrepreneurs often acknowledge that their first product or idea was far from perfect (many started with a concept that might not have even been remotely related to their eventual success). The key takeaway is that they took the initial step, resiliently embraced their failures as learning opportunities, and persisted. There is power in recognising the potential in an imperfect idea and carrying on moving forward. This is where important skills of resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from mistakes all become part of the journey toward success.

We (NatWest Group plc) can't accept responsibility for any decisions or actions you take based on this article. It’s for information only and not meant to offer specific advice. And although we think it’s reliable, we haven’t independently checked all the information in it.  You also shouldn’t copy the article anywhere without our consent. All views and forecasts in it are ours and can change.

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