NOW LIVE! Podcast Episode 219: Discover how to know when it's time to give up or time to re-think it all! Click here to listen!

How to Turn Failures into Opportunities

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2017

Here's a pattern I see all the time. Something doesn't turn out the way a business person wants it to. Consequently, he or she decides: "I failed. Something's wrong with me."

If you're in that situation now, just hold on a second. Let's look at what's really going on here.

You can't take the outcome of one project and use it to label yourself. Instead, if an endeavor doesn't go your way, you should look at it as the biggest opportunity possible to learn and grow — and that's not just my natural Laguna Beach optimism talking.

Faulty Goals, Disappointing Results



Most entrepreneurs – in fact, nearly all of them – have gone through at least one experience they'd deem a failure.

To learn from a misfire, first, recall the expectation you began with. Then answer this question: Who set that expectation? It was you, wasn't it?

In other words, you set an unrealistic goal for yourself. Naturally, you didn't meet it, and you called yourself a failure because of it. You see? You set yourself up for a defeat. But that's OK. It's easy to do.

Especially in new circumstances, it can be hard to figure out what outcomes to expect and what you need to do to reach those objectives.

The Importance of Debrief



At this point, it's time to transform that so-called failure into a real educational experience. It's time to debrief.

After a project, the debrief is crucial — no matter what the results were like. Done right, a debrief can be magic, and I'm not exaggerating here.

A debrief should last at least a half day and should involve your entire team. Everyone should pore over statistics and information related to the project. Above all, you should ask the right questions. Please allow me to emphasize that: Ask the right questions!

Without asking the right questions, you won't get to the real source of the breakdown. Thus, you won't pivot or course correct in a way that will prevent such a failure from happening again.

A survey is the most important debriefing tool of all. You want to hear what your audience is telling you — well, you might not want to, but you need to — and surveys are direct lines of communication between companies and consumers.

Thus, ask your customers in a straightforward way: Why didn't this project resonate with you? Why didn't you buy? Why did you say no?

Really soak in their answers. Don't get defensive, and remind yourself that those remarks aren't personal. Do whatever you can to stay calm and understand your customers fully. They'll show you the way, I promise.

Getting Back on Your Feet



Maybe your "failed" project only needs minor tweaks. For example, perhaps you could adjust your copy or alter the phrasing on your website to make a product or deal more enticing.

On the other hand, if your numbers were way off, you might require substantial changes. Let's say that you were hoping 100,000 people would take your most recent webinar, but only 1,000 did. You might add more content or restructure it to make it easier to follow. Once you've done so, it may get more social media shares and positive word of mouth, thus boosting your enrollment numbers.

In the end, all kinds of things might have led to your disappointing result. What definitely didn't cause this letdown, though, is you. That's the most vital takeaway here. Luckily, in every setback, there's a lesson to learn and apply later. I believe that's a huge part of what makes the business world so exciting.

For more tips and info, please see my YouTube discussion of this topic. On that video, I'll even tell you a personal story about how I learned to overcome professional setbacks. It involves bartending, a job interview that went awry and a question I'll never forget! 

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