What Your Company Can Learn From Failures

It would be nice to succeed all the time, wouldn’t it? What if absolutely everything you did turned into gold and everyone loved you all the time. Even if you did something really dumb your fans would follow you to your next big thing. What a life, Charlie Sheen!

What a dream, more like. Obviously succeeding all the time is impossible. Even Pixar, the studio behind movies like Toy Story and Cars, found this out when Cars 2 was panned by critics as their first big failure (of course, it still made a bunch of money). No matter what you do or what industry you’re in, you’re bound to hit a snag once in a while.

And thank goodness! Without failures, we would have no opportunity to learn. Whatever troubles you encounter create an opportunity to fix something and make your company stronger.

Holes in the Armor

Until you encounter your first big failure, you really don’t know where the holes in your company’s armor are. It’s natural to assume when you first start out that everything is great and nothing will go wrong. Sure, you may have found some little things wrong when you first launched, but you fixed them in no time, so everything’s perfect now, right?

Not so, and only when everything falls apart do you see where the real issues are. It’s usually in an area where you weren’t expecting, too; for instance, you might think the reason you’ve sold nothing in your first three months of being open is due to your product, but then you find out it’s because your website is a mess.

The good thing about finding out what to fix here is it may just take a little tweaking. Adjusting your website usually isn’t a huge undertaking, so it shouldn’t take you six months of setbacks to get it up to speed. Then you can start looking out for your next big goof.

What You’re Just Flat Out Missing

Sometimes it’s not just a little thing that’s gone wrong – once in a while in your haste to get your store running, you flat out forget an important piece of the business puzzle! When this happens you might have some more work cut out for you, though it’s nothing you can’t eventually amend.

New business owners, especially ones with a unique product, get so excited about starting a business that they forget little things like “customer service” or “marketing.” Then somewhere down the line they realize they have a great product that’s literally going nowhere.

This may take a little more work to fix, as things like dealing with customers are issues they should have considered before they opened up shop. However, they could still use what they’ve learned thus far to make an even better customer service or marketing plan than they would have before they started.

For example, before they opened up shop, they may not have realized their product is shippable in a very small box. This way they can afford to offer deals on shipping without suffering a huge loss. Or, you may have targeted your skinny jeans to Tweens, only to find that it’s their target audience’s mothers who buy the product in droves. Uh oh – time to change the PR and marketing strategies!

What major (or minor) failure have you learned the most from?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

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