5 Questions You Have to Ask Yourself after Your Startup Fails
Or, rather, when it fails. It may be an unpleasant truth, but the majority of startups go out of business within half a year of their opening dates – and there is nothing much you can do. It is nature of life. Which, however, doesn’t mean that you should stop trying – most insanely successful founders of startups have at least half a dozen crushing failures under their belt. Did it deter them from going on? No. It made them better prepared for the next attempt.
But it only works that way if you ask yourself a few questions before you try the next time.
1. What Was the Worst Mistake I Made?
There are many reasons why startups fail, from poor hiring decisions and lack of finances to product problems and mismanagement. However, the failure of most startups can be traced back to a handful of especially bad mistakes or even a single one of them. If you made such a mistake, it means you are prone to it – so make sure you apply every effort to avoid it during your next attempt.
2. Which Lesson Have I Learned?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or, when it comes to business, smarter. You may know everything about business in theory, but nothing drives a point home better than a really hope-smashing failure – something Sam Ovens, the founder of SnapInspect, has learned very well. At 21, he dropped out of college. By 25 he was a millionaire – but not before going through a crushing defeat with his first business. It, however, served as an invaluable life lesson. He didn’t blame the market or the economy. He asked himself: what have I learned? The primary lesson he got out of it was that no matter how fascinating your business idea looks for you if it doesn’t sell something that people want and need, it isn’t worth anything.
3. What Could Have Saved Your Startup?
You cannot know for sure, but in retrospect, what decision, if done differently, could have saved your business? A post-mortem analysis taking into account alternative approaches and solutions can give you ideas as to how you can solve the same or similar problems if they arise ever again in your next business. When you have a ready-made solution for the situation and don’t have to run around in panic trying to figure out what to do, the success probability increases tenfold.
4. What Decision Looked Good when it was Taken but Led to Disaster?
Sometimes our actions and decisions have unexpected consequences. An action that looked good on paper and couldn’t but lead to success sometimes turns around to bite you worse than any problem it solved in the first place. If you remember such a situation and fixate it in your memory, you will be better prepared to find a better solution for the problem when it arises for the next time.
5. Which Approach You Wish You Had Taken from the Very Beginning
Sometimes startups fail because something was being done wrong continuously and since their very foundation. As hindsight is always 20/20, you probably know what you were doing wrong and can’t believe you could have been so stupid. However, you can turn hindsight into foresight if you make sure to take the right approach the next time around. It can turn out wrong again, but hey, at least you will find another way that doesn’t work.
With startup failure reaching almost 90%, as some authorities state, you are very unlikely to succeed the first time you try. However, make it count – draw lessons that will eventually lead you to success!