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Startup Failure: How To Bounce Back After A Rough Patch


The idea of starting a business with nothing but a few bucks in the bank has become so illuminating that everyone is anxious to try their hands at it. As great as an accomplishment like this could be, most entrepreneurial hopefuls get blinded by “overnight success” stories or the idea of becoming rich quick. They, in turn, launch their business without having a full knowledge of how to get started or what it will require to become a success.

Running a business has plenty of perks. It gives you the freedom to work on what you want, when you want, and with who you want. There’s no cap on how much you can earn or what direction you can take your brand in. Yet failure (and lots of it) tends to come before success. New business owners ignore this reality and when faced with a problem, setback, or flat-out failure, find themselves unsure of what to do or how to move on.

If you have found yourself in a rut, are experiencing a bunch of struggles, or recently suffered a significant failure in running your startup, these tips will help you to cope and bounce back:

It’s Okay to Be Upset.

The absolute worst thing you can do when you’ve suffered a setback in business is to hold in your feelings. You were excited about this idea, you worked hard for it, you planned, and spent hours and money investing in building your dream. So, if it doesn’t go as planned, is taking a while to get off the ground, or launched and failed, it’s only natural that you’d feel a way about everything. Don’t try to throw yourself back into it right away. Instead, give yourself time to feel whatever is going on in your mind. If you want to cry, cry, if you’re upset, scream, if you just want to be alone, do that.

Stay Away From Vices.

Whatever you do, don’t turn to vices when things are going wrong with your startup. Gambling, using drugs, drinking too much alcohol, and a host of other reckless behaviors will only make matters worse. Even if you don’t become addicted, using such substances or activities to mask the pain can have adverse effects. If you find yourself turning to things like alcohol, ask yourself a few questions. How long does alcohol stay in your system? Will it affect your performance in business? Will drinking alcohol make your problems go away? Can drinking at the rate you’re drinking cause you to develop a dependency or addiction? If so, perhaps this isn’t the best way to deal with feeling bummed about a startup failure.

Determine What Happened.

After you’ve given yourself time to cool off and sort through your feelings you need to get back to it. The first order of business is to figure out what went wrong. This can help you to plan more effectively for the future to avoid such a setback again. Be honest about this step. Trying to make excuses or point fingers where they don’t belong will only result in you meeting the same fate in the future. Think about everything that was in your control, the steps you took, the methods you used, the resources you had, and the people you relied on. Were there things you could have done differently? If so, what?

Create Small Goals.

Just because you fell off the bike doesn’t mean you aren’t meant to ride. It simply means you have to learn how to be a smarter rider. After failing or experiencing a setback with your startup, it’s a good idea to go back to the drawing board. Now that you know what you could have done to cause the issue, start creating goals to correct these problems in the future. Just make sure that the goals are small and attainable. Making them too large can work against you – especially if you don’t succeed. If cash flow was a problem and need more, for example, instead of giving saying you need $10,000 or $100,000 to run your business, break your cash flow problems into small goals. Perhaps some goals might be to invest in an accounting system, start managing invoices more efficiently, or reducing your company costs. These ideas don’t sound as intimidating and are easier to accomplish than pulling $10,000 out of the sky.

Ask for Help.

No one who is really successful at business got there on their own. Everyone needs help getting to and staying at the top so don’t be afraid to realize when you need help. Whether you need a mentor to help with your management skills or you need to hire an assistant to help with the overwhelming workload in the office, get the help you need so you’re not so taxed that you feel like giving up or start making obvious mistakes from the overload.

Failures, setbacks, disappointments, obstacles, and many other things you may not enjoy are essentially a part of operating a successful business. The key to getting through them is to learn from these mistakes and press forward. Start by acknowledging and feeling your emotions. Then, begin the rebuilding process by figuring out what went wrong, creating small goals to rebuild, and asking for help where needed. If you stick to it and keep these things in mind you can bounce back in no time at all.