Reality Check Entrepreneurs: It’s What You Have to Do, Not What You Want to Do

According to Barbara Corcoran, a top investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and head of a $5 billion real estate business, the single most important lesson any budding entrepreneur needs to learn in order to succeed is to get good at failing.

In other words, chances are very, very high that your first business model, your first ideas, and your first attempts will not be successful.

Every young entrepreneur who wants to be successful has to be passionate about their ideas – without passion, your business will not have the umph behind it, the relentless drive to keep going even when you fail.

But this also means, as Corcoran explains, that you have to be flexible in your visions. Just because you are passionate about your ideas, doesn’t mean your customers’ visions necessarily line up. And when running a business where the whole point is to sell to customers, you want your visions to be aligned.

So, it’s crucial, as an entrepreneur, to keep your customers close and happy. Be on the same page.

A good way to start is with your company name. Your company name is your main selling point; it’s what grabs your clients’ eyes and keeps your company memorable. But remember: in order to succeed you have to get good at failing. This includes being good at failing to pick the right name. Do whatever is necessary to find the perfect name. Brainstorm, take a vote or use a company name generator (here is a good list). However you do it, make it intriguing, concise and unique and people will associate the great name with great work.

If you have a company brand name that just isn’t working out, you need to be okay and ready to change it. This is hard for a lot of budding entrepreneurs, especially when they get attached to the roots of a company. But keep in mind, for example, that before Facebook became Facebook, it was The Facebook. Not as catchy, huh? Be flexible and ready to adjust in the beginning.

In my early days as an entrepreneur, I was trying land on the perfect name for my company. And to my dismay, it was much harder than I thought it would be. My wife shot down dozens of ideas – ideas that I thought were amazing. However, when I finally nailed it, we both just knew that it was the right one. Don’t be afraid to throw out more ideas than you keep.

Being flexible also includes letting yourself go broke, embracing rather than running from your fears, and learn how to not repeat your mistakes. In an interview, Corcoran said, “Every single failure has an equally great upside if you are willing to stay in the game. If I hadn’t failed at that speech, I would have been not teaching that course to get over my fear of public speaking. You can get hit hard, but you come back hard, and you always get rewarded.”

Don’t give up on yourself, but be okay with giving up on ideas that aren’t working. If your website really isn’t getting any hits, consider a new marketing tactic. Consider changing your website domain. If your brand isn’t selling at all, maybe the product really just isn’t that good. Consider starting from scratch, and building a new company. Just because you start over, doesn’t mean you’re back to square one. If your first company failed, take what you learned from the failures and use those mistakes to your advantage in the same way that sports coaches get fired by a few teams, then end up eventually winning a championship with their new team.

You weren’t aggressive enough in getting clients? Be more aggressive. Develop your social media voice. You were too aggressive in getting clients? Find new ones, but be more careful how you treat them. There is no such thing as complete failure, only failure to try.

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About The Author

Owen Andrew is journalist in California. He is passionate about small business and entrepreneurship.