Celebrity Column: Peace Hyde – ‘Why You Need To Fail’

Hello and welcome to a Piece Of Peace. Your weekly dose of motivation and inspiration. This week I would like to share with you on the topic “why you need to fail”. For many young entrepreneurs, the fear of failure leads to inactivity and a lack of focus in achieving your end goal. As you establish your business and it begins to grow, there is a natural tendency to become more averse to risk and failure. You realise how difficult it was to get that start up capital and all the headaches that came with it. The safe option is to avoid any risky moves so you do not fail. The goal of fast-growth companies should be to learn from (and not to repeat) failures rather than “not to fail.”

A company that cultivates a culture in which it is OK to fail has a distinct competitive advantage, because we learn so much more from our failures than we ever do from our successes.  As the saying goes, “Success has many parents, but failure is an orphan.” That is, many people will jump at the chance to take credit for success, but very few will accept responsibility for failure when it happens.

By embracing the insights and key lessons that come with failure, we open new doors and new possibilities. For all the young aspiring minds reading this today, I encourage you to take that leap of faith. Here are some quick tips I came across that I believe will help you take calculated risks and fail your way to the top.

  1. Never spend money you don’t yet have in the bank. In the rush of a startup, it’s tempting to start spending the money you expect any day from a rich uncle or a major new customer. But things do go wrong, and you will be left holding the bag. It’s not only embarrassing, but one of the quickest ways to end your entrepreneurial career.
  2. Never open your mouth while in a negative emotional state. Many entrepreneurs have destroyed a strategic alliance, an investor relationship, or lost a key customer by jumping in with harsh words after a bad day at home or at the office. If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep quiet and wait for another day. You may be dead wrong.
  3. Never over-promise and under-deliver. Always manage expectations, and always under-promise and over-deliver. As a startup, you can be assured of product quality problems, missing business processes, and customer support issues. Use the rule of “plan early, quote late, and ship early,” to be a hero rather than a zero.
  4. Never create a market you can’t supply and support. If your product is really new and disruptive, make sure you have supply to meet the demand at rollout, and a patent to prevent others from jumping in quickly.Too many entrepreneurs have had their new positions in the marketplace taken away by competitors and others with deep pockets.
  5. Never count on anyone who offers to work for free. As a rule of thumb, expect to get exactly what you paid for. People who work for free will expect to get paid soon in some way, or they may take it out in trade, to the detriment of your business. Student interns are an exception, since their primary objective should be learning rather than money.
  6. Never underestimate the importance of due diligence. No matter how good a supplier or investor story sounds, it is not smart to skip the reference and credit checks. Visits in person are always recommended to check remote office and production facilities before any money is paid up front on a contract.
  7. Never grow too quickly for your finances and staffing. Growing quickly, without a plan on how to implement that growth can be a disaster. Learn how to reject a big order if you are not prepared to handle it. It takes a huge investment to build large orders, and large customers are the slowest to pay. In the trade, this is called “death by success.”
  8. Never be confused between working hard and working smart. In business (as in life), you should never reward yourself or your team on the quantity of time spent, rather than results achieved. Quality works at a thousand times the pace of quantity. Prioritize your tasks, take advantage of technology, and constantly optimize your processes.
  9. Never be afraid to ask for help, advice, or even money. Entrepreneurs often let pride and ego stand in the way of leveling with trusted friends and advisors. The advice you don’t get can’t save your company. I always recommend that a startup create an advisory board of two or three outside experts, who have connections to even more resources. 
  10. Never rely on a verbal agreement in business. Get every agreement on paper early and always, put a copy in a safe place, and have the agreements updated when people and environments change. People come and go in every role, and there is no such thing as institutional memory. People only remember the agreements which benefit them.
I hope this advice helps. Stay true to your vision and purpose, it is yours for a reason and no matter what you do always be yourself because everyone else is taken.
Much Love,
Peace Hyde.

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