Learning to Define Failure in your Business Plan

It’s easy to get caught up into your new business. You’re creating something new, hiring people, and everything is going great the first few days or weeks. In your mind your making money, you have customers so everything must be going great, so what could be the problem? Lots if you didn’t plan for any of it.

One of the challenges with starting any new business is learning to define your steps to success but also defining your steps to failure. The second part is not something most business students are taught in fancy business schools because no one wants to pay to hear the negative side of things, they just want their egos boosted, their social engagements fulls, and job offers around every corner. The reality though is that  you need to learn to define what makes your business a failure and when to walk away from it just as you would a successful business.

Common Steps to Success
Most people give themselves goals that enable them to work harder, some of those goals include.

1. Having X number of Customers within 6 months

2. Weekly Profits of X number of Dollars

3. Hiring X Number of Employees by next year

4. Quitting my regular job within 3 months of starting

These goals tend to be common around startups because every entrepreneur needs benchmarks to understand how they are doing, but the problem with this picture is that not every entrepreneur looks at the opposite side because all believe their idea will change the world or fill a huge need, IF ONLY, people would notice it.

Defining Failure

1. Not having X number of Customers by next month

2. If company loses 2 or more customers a week

3. Profits Numbers are below X number threshold

4. X Number of Employees Quit

5. Time invested in startup is more than success rate

Defining Professional Boundaries
Whether you are starting a small startup for a class project or making a real go out of it you need to be aware of your limitations, what you can and shouldn’t do for your company, and when to see things through a realistic lens so as to know when to stop and throw in the towel.

There are many entrepreneurs out there who will tell you that if they could just get their hands on some money they could make their idea into a reality. If you listen closely to their story and hear that it has a back story of more than 2 years then you have to wonder what they have been doing in the meantime with all that lost time spent.

If you do not have a failure plan added into your business plan then you will never know when to stop investing resources into something that won’t work. History is filled with people who spent their lives trying to make something work that never did and then are those that did and it took their whole life to make it happen, so you need to ask yourself, is all that lost time worth it in the end?

Read how this guy learned to recognize his failure

If you really want to understand how failing will help you understand business read

The UP side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success by Megan McArdle

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