MOT Workshop 62 – Failure Breeds Success | handling insolvency

MOT Workshop Magazine 62 August 2018

Failure Breeds Success

As Henry Ford once said: ‘Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again,
this time more intelligently’

Mike DolanMike Dolan has been a consultant in the area of sole trader and small to medium sized company restructuring, business sales and acquisitions for over twenty years.

His company Equitable Solutions provides a discrete and confidential service to its clients all over the country and assists in pragmatically resolving personal and business debt situations.

James Dyson famously described the inventor’s life as ‘one of failure’ after it took him 5,127 attempts to get the prototype of his vacuum cleaner right.

There are examples further back in history of this entrepreneurial ethos that failure breeds success. Thomas Edison said: ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’

Yet ten years on since the financial crash there are an increasing number of small businesses going to the wall. Why now? Usually because the owners have valiantly struggled with servicing debt or fixed costs they took on in a different era. Commendable as the efforts may be, they get no thanks from anyone and they should long ago have pulled the plug, restructured, written off debt and made a fresh start.

Moving on intelligently

“Failing” is still perceived by many people as something to be hidden, swept under the carpet rather than celebrated. OK, nobody starts out and wants to fail, so celebration may sound over the top, but with hindsight it’s what many successful entrepreneurs do.

Ask yourself, why do smart people who’ve encountered business failure go on to be successful? Most often it’s because they recognise the inevitable and move on to something new, even it if it’s doing the same thing again but differently or as Henry Ford said, ‘more intelligently’.

What they don’t do is entrench and perpetuate a failing business. Life’s too short. Even Sir Richard Branson has had his share of failures. Where is Virgin Cola, Virgin Cars or Virgin Brides right now?

Fresh start

David Gann, professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Imperial College London, agrees that failure and success are rarely black and white. Tim Harford, the renowned Oxford economist in his book ‘Adapt’ explains why success always starts with failure and he argues the virtues – and necessity – of trial and error.

Many small business owners; sole traders and or limited companies, miss the opportunity provided by government legislation, that a CVL (creditors voluntary liquidation) or an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) offers them to make a fresh start without losing what they have.

Fear of the unknown, uncertainty about costs, worry about what the bank or HMRC can really do, stifles the use of legislation intended to encourage entrepreneurship and it fosters the perception that business failure is a personal failure. It’s not. Business failure is an essential part of a thriving entrepreneurial economy and that’s long been recognised by progressive governments.

David Cameron said a true entrepreneurial economy can thrive only in a culture that allows people to make mistakes, learn from them, and try again. He was echoing the legislation which culminated with Tony Blair’s Labour government enactment of the Enterprise Act 2002.

Failure can be an asset

Anecdotal evidence suggests investors often see failure in an entrepreneur’s past as an asset – not a liability – Why? Because failure suggests a tolerance for risk and a hunger to succeed. But it has taken a while for attitudes to change – and we are still not as generous as our American counterparts when it comes to the belief that failure is merely a pit stop on the road to success.

I’ve had decades of experience working with numerous entrepreneurs across different sectors and I’m pleased to say I’ve helped many of them through the dark moments of failure when the odds seemed stacked against them, to get back on the road to achieving success with their business ambitions.

If what you’ve been reading rings any bells with you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – We offer a free confidential consultation opportunity for people who run a business and want to know how they could reshape their business by getting rid of debt. If you would like to chat through the possibilities that may be able to turbo charge your future success, please contact me.

Mike Dolan
Equitable Solutions,
78 York Street, London W1H 1DP
Mobile: 07740 172210
Phone: 020 7078 8869

Related posts

Comment on this article