“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Welcome to the 5th and final installment of the DE Entrepreneurship Blog Series. Being an entrepreneur is a difficult and, often, lonely journey. Since we’ve experienced this first hand, this week, we decided to share some helpful tips and insight on how to navigate and cope with the inherent struggles. On Day 1, we covered the process of going from idea to business. Day 2, we discussed how to legally form your company and protect your brand. Day 3, we discussed funding your business. Day 4, we talked about the growing pains of entrepreneurship. Today, in “Now What?” we’ll discuss what to do when you’ve come to that fork in the road where you decide whether to give up or keep going.
One of our favorite quotes to share with clients, particularly our Small Business/Entrepreneurship clients, is the Winston Churchill quote above. It serves as a reminder that regardless of whether you get funded, miss out on a potentially lucrative client, or are the hotshot startup, there’s always work to be done and lessons to be learned.
If, at the end of your self-prescribed deadline, you’ve found the success that you need to continue the entrepreneurial journey, congratulations. Pop a bottle, order a cake and take a minute or two to celebrate being one of the few. But, after you’ve taken a sip, enjoyed that bite and your 2 minutes are up, get back to work and leverage your success. For instance, if your deadline and goals included securing 20 clients by year 2, and you met that goal, celebrate your 2-year anniversary with announcements on your website and social media channels and conduct a sale as well. Also, be sure to send thank you notes (handwritten is always a plus) to your clients to acknowledge their role in your success. If possible, you may also want to consider sending them branded swag in the form of shirts, mugs, pens, or something else with your company’s name, logo/motto to further let them know that you consider them to be a value member of the team. Whether they were there from the beginning, or just hopped on board, they are a large part of your success and you should share the love.
Unfortunately, this is not everyone’s experience because there is no recipe that guarantees you will bake up success. If you pour every dollar, every ounce of sweat and every waking hour into your small business or startup, there is no assurance that you’ll ever reach the mountaintop. So, what do you do when you’ve reached your mental, financial or logistical breaking point? What do you do when you realize that either the entrepreneurial life isn’t for you, or this idea, product, brand, or company just doesn’t work? Pop a bottle, order a cake and take a minute or two to celebrate being one of the few who took the plunge. There is absolutely nothing wrong with failure. Failure is the foundation upon which success is built. Show us a man/woman that’s never encountered failure, and we’ll show you a man/woman that hasn’t lived long enough. So what it didn’t work out, at least you tried. Take stock of debts, assets, inventory and see what value may be had in selling/leasing any of these things. Thank your team for their hard work and contribution to the effort and, when the time is right, let them know that it’s not going to work so that they may be able to plan accordingly. Then, once the dust has settled, review every major decision, every mistake, every victory and take inventory of what you did right, what you did wrong and how you can improve in your next endeavor. If you don’t find lessons in the ashes of your company, then you wasted your time.
In closing, entrepreneurship and small business ownership is hard. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar and/or is probably running a pyramid… *cough* “multi-level marketing” scheme. If our blog series this week has taught you nothing else about entrepreneurship, hopefully you learned that launching, forming and managing a small business or startup is incredibly difficult. With any luck, the other takeaway you received this week is that to improve your prospects for success you should develop a plan, enlist help and work like hell to succeed. Diplomatic Enterprises specializes in working with entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses to form their companies, and create and strengthen their brands. If you’re ready to take the plunge, or already have but want to find new ways to bolster your efforts, call or email us for a free consultation. Good luck!