Tag Archives: failure

A true Entrepreneur never fails, just learns

In the recent months, I have been thinking about the journey we take as entrepreneurs. This is not always a logical one and it has many twists and turns but as a lecturer I know it’s important to present a structured approach with a limited set of options. But as a realist, I also know the path to true enlightenment may be through the pit of delusion.

The message that failure is a good thing is one which many people are now talking about, yet I find our education system still thinks in a binary way, you either pass or fail and this can only be done at defined points, normally set by your age.

Our Examination system teaches us from a young age that there is only one right answer and many wrong ones. This then provides society with a view of you, typically a grade from A* to U. We sit and judge you from afar, if too many get high marks then the exams were easy, if too little get high mark then the youth of today are spending too much time on their Xbox. The hard fact for many young people is that the grade is final and they be able to change it, even if they get better at that subject. You never get the opportunity to learn from your mistakes or gain a higher grade.

Yet Entrepreneurship is about the path your take and the reactions to the decisions and not the decisions themselves.

Everyone is expected to take the wrong turn at some point and the important thing is how you get back on track. How do you learn from the situation? How do you react to your mistake? How do you reflect on the situation and opportunities surrounding you at this point?

Let me explain this in terms of driving from London to Paris. If you made one wrong turn at any point, then as long as you recognized this fact and acted on this information to rectify it, you would still arrive in Paris. It may or not take longer or extra time. yet our education system would have failed you and asked you to never drive this route again.

I always explain starting a successful business as having to make one hundred right decisions. Out of how many I do know know. Over what time I do now t know. I don’t know what feedback loop will be in place. When will I know that I have done it?

We all agree that these decisions will need to be made and that some of them will be shown to be wrong. (Either the right decision at the wrong moment or the wrong decision at the right moment) This is not a fail, just another opportunity to learn, rethink the plan and evaluate your surroundings.

Our secondary education system needs to develop an opportunity to reflect on the learning and allow the learner to build this into their learning plan moving forward.

Your path is your own and only on your reflection can you mark yourself.

The real question is, IS the probability of failure is greater than the probability of success?

Having studied statistics and quantum mechanics back in the late 80s at university (It has changed a little bit since then). I understand this life dimension runs between a number of statistic probabilities which in general provide a limited set of outcomes that on average can be determined. Thus having been born in the rural West Midlands(UK), living in a  village for the last 15 years, I will live until I’m 82 years old, as most of the street which I live on have. Job done!!

I don’t believe in enterprise because I want to keep the status quo!! Everything must change, change is the only option,change is good, so how do I change the probability in the favor of enterprise?

So should I even think about this?

I was walking in the forest with my wife, its was during the snow fall last February on a Saturday afternoon. A big forest which leads no where and goes no where, its just a big forest. So what is the probability that we three sets of people meet at the same time(yes same time, same place, all within one metre of each other) these people…

One man warring a three piece suite with two children, also carrying a pink bike
One man caring two plastic shopping bags full of shopping
A woman with two dogs talking on her mobile phone

OK, I think its about 170 million to one.

But if I could bottle it and give this to entrepreneurs who are starting a business, they would pay, being able to fix a 170 million one chance, just pure gold. Every day in my life I see these amazingly high probability opportunities come forward. I am sure I should say serendipity but  …

The real question is, IS the probability of failure is greater than the probability of success?

Given tomorrow, I will sit in a train carriage with a three other random people, who will never have meet, never meet again and spend a brief moment in time which will change the complete history of our galaxy.

Those who fail are not recorded in history. Thus the probability of success is just equal to 1. (Which means the probability of failure is just zero which is why we where we are, right now)

Given we will succeed, what path will you take in this?