It seems it’s now trendy to have a few business failures before you “make it”.
The premise suggests that if you’ve failed in business, you’ll be better off for the experience. And you’ll have “earned your stripes” for your next project.
Imagine throwing everything into a business venture including your personal name, energy, contacts and money for it to fail and collapse. And this failure is then promoted as a “learning experience” via news stories, branding pieces or blog entries.
It’s also worse to lose a lot of money, have your reputation shredded and then have to pick yourself up and milk some press from it all saying how you’ve “learnt and you’re ready to get back on the horse”.
To me this is rubbish.
Sure, we all make a few mistakes. We are human after all.
I am a firm believer from learning from mistakes in business and personal life, but do it quietly, cheaply and internally.
And don’t celebrate it with the world.
The PR myth of business failure
Many companies out there stake their public relations and marketing on how “they’ve failed at their first business and now they’re doing it a second time as they’ve learnt their lesson”.
They obviously find it cathartic to purge their past failures and good on them if this helps them personally.
However, it doesn’t work for businesses to admit that they’re a failure, let alone pop it into a PR strategy. This goes for leaders of businesses too.
Sure, admit you needed to make a few changes to your business strategy or should have put in a management team sooner, but don’t get articles published about business failure and loss of other people’s money.
These negative stories will remain on the Internet for many, many years to come and remember that “failure” is a strong word that will stick around.
If you were a client
Picture this, if you’re a client weighing up and researching two similar companies and leadership teams for a project, would you back the one that hasn’t failed or the one that has?
I know which one I would pick.