Fail fast is everywhere in entrepreneurship. It is a good strategy for business survival, especially in the early stages of building a business. However, there is a right and a wrong way to approach failing fast, and failing fast for the sake of failure means time and money wasted. Allow me to explain why.
Failing fast originated from Silicon Valley in the early 2000s, where start-ups sought to innovate and iterate rapidly. The lessons from Silicon Valley help us understand that the fail-fast mentality is not about encouraging failure but promoting iteration and learning through it.
The faster we ideate, test, and fail, the quicker we learn from our experiences. Learning from experience is what helps us grow as entrepreneurs. Through multiple failures, learnings, and experiences, you can create a successful business
It is crucial to understand that the benefits from failing fast come from learning from the failure itself. These are what will drive your business forward.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in over 30 years of entrepreneurship, it’s that failure is unavoidable. However, there are three things you must consider to learn from failure the right way. These are preparedness, awareness, and education.
I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs fail in their business ventures because they didn’t take the time to prepare themselves or their business for the market. Discipline is a critical skill in entrepreneurship, and it reduces your risk of failure.
You must diligently prepare when entering any market. This includes doing market research, idea validation, competitor analysis, cash flow forecasting, and writing a thorough business plan. If you have failed because you did not prepare yourself sufficiently, then you have essentially failed and wasted your time in the process because you cannot take any substantial learnings from your failure. You will learn nothing from failing because of a lack of preparation.
You must also be aware of when failure is happening and when to pull the plug. Entrepreneurs are renowned for their ability to stay in the game longer than most, even when a goal looks impossible to achieve. But there is a point where you cannot progress your idea or business any further. If you cannot recognise signs of failure, then you are putting your entire business at risk. It can have consequences that can reach far beyond your business finances.
The third component to learning through failing fast is education – and having the necessary knowledge to gather precise conclusions from failure. When failure occurs, you must be able to pinpoint the cause and reason why. If you cannot do this then you will learn nothing from failure.
You will also be more likely to repeat the same mistakes again. Repeating mistakes is something you want to avoid in entrepreneurship as it costs you valuable time and money.
At Entrepreneur Seminar, education forms a critical part of our programs. There are millions of entrepreneurs out there who are not only failing but also not learning. Failure without learning, causes stress, burnout, and in some cases, entrepreneurs giving up on entrepreneurship altogether.
Failing fast for the sake of failure is the wrong way to approach building a company. However, failing fast for the sake of gathering learnings and fast iteration is a great approach to scale your business at speed.
But if you do this, ensure that you are prepared, aware, and educated.
Otherwise, your efforts will be in vain.
One of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs, renowned for having built and sold his 3D printing business botObjects for $50 million in a record-breaking 17 months, Martin Warner is a global thought leader on entrepreneurship and a business mentor, educator, inventor, film producer, and investor.
Having taught entrepreneurship for 20 years to thousands of people, Martin now shares his thought leadership, teachings, and coaching through his education program, Entrepreneur Seminar.