Failure's hard, but don't be an ostrich

Posted: 9 Sep '21

I was reminded of past mistakes during a recent visit to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. No, I have never been an animal wrangler but I did run into one of my lovely ex-employees from a previous start-up and it gave me reason to pause.

I have a confession. I had a failed business venture. 15 years ago, I closed my child-friendly hospitality venue because it was successful in every way except making any money. We gave it a good, hard crack for 4 years but ultimately, we had to pull the plug.  I say this is a confession because it’s not something I talk about very often. It was a real bash to the ego to have developed a business concept from scratch and have it fail. At the time, to me, it was proof that my judgement was flawed. I felt that I’d let my staff, my customers and even my family down. I was embarrassed and felt like everyone would judge me as a failure. And, maybe there was a little bit of “Tall Poppy bashing” behind my back, (which is surprising since I am about the same height as a Smurf) but mostly, people were just sad that we had closed and moved on.

It has taken much time and distance, but I now realise that living through that failure, has made me a much better business advisor. It was a step along my own small business journey. It taught me to recognise the warning signs, gave me new business rules to live by and cemented a life lesson that I always knew, that is, it never helps to stick your head in the sand when the bleeding obvious is staring you in the face. Also, now when I speak to struggling clients, I am speaking from a place of understanding and empathy because I know first-hand, failure is hard. But perspective is wonderful. It’s a trite thing to say but it’s only a failure if you don’t learn from your mistakes. If you rip off the band-aid, hold your head high and move on, chances are you will take those lessons into your next venture and give it an even better crack.

Cor, that was a lot more serious than my usual blog fare. Time for me to get off the psycho-analyst couch and get back to telling toilet jokes. Or, alternatively, we are also available to help you pull your head out of that pesky sand castle if the need arises. Just shout "Coo-eee!"

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