Failure Is Always An Option

Road Sign Failure or SuccessDon’t believe those people that say that failure is not an option for an entrepreneur. You know those people that say that you have to fight for what you believe in until you succeed. They’re wrong. Failure is an option. It’s a nasty distasteful option and a last resort, but it is an option. Especially, if you persevere with an idea with no market or route to profitability. People love the story of the entrepreneur that had the crazy idea and persevered, never taking no for an answer until they succeeded. Here’s the dirty little secret. It’s because their idea was good enough. That and that stories of people overcoming adversity are much more memorable than those of businesses that fade away into failure and so they are told more often.

Perseverance is a great thing, but if you have a new pet grooming service that is all natural using fair trade monkeys rescued from people who smuggled them into the country, you’r not going to succeed. It doesn’t matter how hard you push. Who would want to pay you $100 to have a monkey groom their pet? Ok, maybe some people in Hollywood, but I question whether or not you can convince enough people to even cover the cost to house your monkeys.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating quitting. I’m discouraging the dogged pursuit of an idea that is destined for failure. If the business idea isn’t working, do some more market research. Is the market too small? Talk to your potential customers. Why are they or aren’t they using your product? Look at your competitors. What are they doing that makes them more successful than you? Take all that information and see if you can turn the business around. If so, go for it.

If it doesn’t look like you can make this idea profitable, look at your business’ assets. What talents does your team have? What data have you collected that could be used in another way? Is there a related business idea that you could pivot to with all of these assets? If so, maybe a pivot is in order. Do some research first though and validate the business model before you pivot. It doesn’t inspire confidence in a team if you’re constantly pivoting. Plus, it wastes time and valuable resources.

If the business isn’t going to work and a pivot doesn’t seem to be in the cards, then failure may be your only option. Take what you learned, the contacts you made and wind the company down gracefully. Discuss what you are doing with your customers and your team. If you do it properly, they might just come on board for your next venture.

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