Maybe you were born to be an entrepreneur. Your lemonade stand wasn’t just a cute photo op for your parents, but a sign of things to come. You’ve dreamed of running a business and doing great things for as long as you can remember.
Even if your mantra is “You can do anything if you put your mind to it,” the time may come when hard work and aspirations just aren’t enough. Mistakes happen. Business plans go wrong. People fail.
But failing doesn’t make you a failure.
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
The road to recovery starts with a commitment to learn and grow from the situation. Walking away from a botched business plan unstained is a lofty goal, but it can be done. Here are five “don’ts” to keep in mind:
You may need to take some time to regroup, to step back from the spotlight. Just don’t disappear for too long. Show up—be present. Face your circumstances and move forward with dignity. Own your mistakes, seek remedies, and offer help. Demonstrate that you are still a person of character.
You might understand why things went wrong, but don’t assume you know everything about the past or the future. You may have more knowledge to glean. Take time to evaluate all the angles of upcoming opportunities or ideas. The outcome doesn’t have to be the same next time.
The Golden Rule isn’t just for Sunday school. It can be (incredibly) difficult to speak well of those at fault in a tanked business plan. Choose to rise above and treat all parties with respect, both in person and behind closed doors. (Your mom was probably right: If you can’t say something nice, it’s better to say nothing at all.)
Don’t be afraid to innovate.
It could be time for a game-changer. You may be tempted to “stick with something safe” following a big mistake—which is good for some people. But if you are gifted in creativity, strategy, and leadership, maybe you’re the perfect person to blaze a new trail.
Keep learning and growing from your mistakes, but don’t let them hinder your potential to unleash something awesome.