Learning to survive failure: The art of building success

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(NNPA)—The key to survival for entrepreneurs lies in the ability to redirect failures and turn challenges into new opportunities. The art of building success is predicated on the basic qualities of innovation, knowledge and not being afraid to fail. The common weakness of many is their fear of pursuing lofty dreams. It is often through failure that people gain the most valuable skills towards building success.

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Whether you agree with his policy or not, it is a fact Barack Obama faced many extraordinary challenges on the path to becoming the first Black president of the United States.

He once stated, “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t, it’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”

Even if Obama had failed in accomplishing his election goals, think of the invaluable knowledge and skills he would have gained anyway. Most importantly, think of the lasting effect his campaign process had in beginning to change the direction of our country’s history and the national seed of open dialogue planted among citizens.

Fear is the primary obstacle that prevents potentially great entrepreneurs from realizing their dreams. The data proves that over 44 percent of all business startups fail within three years. However, the value learned in the process and skills gained by entrepreneurs far outweigh the possibility of failure. It is through learning the art of overcoming unpredictable challenges that we achieve true personal and business success.

In the early years of building a business, it is common for entrepreneurs to struggle with understanding many necessary elements including;

1. A true understanding of the customer’s needs and buying habits. Why do customers spend their money for product or services?

2. Entrepreneurs often struggle to define a niche business plan instead trying to serve all markets. To begin, it is better to focus on the top three unique talents that separate the business from competitors.

3. Many rush into costly financing instead of slowly building the business by maintaining a solid foundation that is not overextended or living beyond their means in massive debt.

4. It is common to fear pursuing new ideas outside the popular views but finding new opportunities can enable companies to grow.

Many entrepreneurs fear a personal lack of knowledge. While not everyone is an expert in public relations, sales and marketing, these seemingly lofty skills can be learned or contracted. Books and Internet research sources are FREE at the public library and courses are readily available that teach hands on practical skills. Lack of knowledge and information is only limited by your imagination. It is smart to gain knowledge and ideas by listening carefully to other successful business owners and community mentors.

Successful entrepreneurs always remember to pursue their dreams. They practice and learn root knowledge truly understanding the hands on pieces that make up the business equation. Great entrepreneurs stay in motion constantly, moving forward to capture valuable assets both intellectual and monetary. The ultimate business owner is always improving things never being afraid to fail in the process.

Time management is one of the principle skills successful entrepreneurs must learn. For example, the average person in the United States watches four hours, 35 minutes of television per day. Imagine if the time were used for reading, exercising or family events. By managing our time better we can literally capture an additional 24 hours or one day per week of productivity. Whether it’s community service or sales presentations, instinctive entrepreneurs will deliberately focus their time on actions that generate value.

Research shows the average worker spends about 25 percent of their time at work dealing with failures. This fact highlights the importance of careful planning that sets up a clear direction before jumping into a project thus reducing the failure rate. The odds that a person will lose on the average slot machine in Las Vegas, Nev., are about 92 percent guaranteed. However, by first educating themselves through skilled sources, entrepreneurs can use collective best practices to increase the odds of predictable rewards.

At times, life’s many obstacles seem insurmountable but new opportunities are gained by redirecting failures using the basic qualities of innovation, knowledge and the art of learning to survive failures.

(Farrah Gray can be reached via e-mail at fg@drfarrahgray.com or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com.)

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