You Can’t Fail! (written April, 2007)

You can’t fail! Failure is not an option! These are crucial words entrepreneurs need to remember and commit themselves to, right from the get go. The most important initial move for entrepreneurs is getting your mind right – 100 percent of the time. Starting your own company, especially from scratch and with limited funds, is a big challenge. No matter what kind of company you start, if you are not committed to the “failure is not an option” mindset, you are setting yourself up for new business failure. And even worse, facing the prospect of going back to work for someone else.

Entrepreneurs will read about and hear the gory statistics – 80-90 percent of all new start-ups will fail. Friends and family can also buy into the statistics and begin to doubt the wisdom of you “taking the entrepreneurial plunge.”

Let’s face it – Business is not easy.  When the bills begin to pile up, and clients or customers are few and far between, some entrepreneurs may be tempted to tell themselves, “this is too tough, I can’t do it, time to pull the trigger. But hey, at least I gave it a shot.” Don’t let your mind go there. Here are ten useful tips that may help you keep your mind and most importantly, your mission on track, helping to stay out of the failure trap:

  • UNDERSTAND STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD. Your mind needs to know right away that starting your own business is really hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. You can’t go into business for yourself with false notions. Entrepreneurs need to realize and accept this right at day one. This will probably be one of the hardest things you will do in life. Remember the old saying; “If it were so easy, everyone would be doing it.”
  • REMEMBER THE ALTERNATIVE. You need to keep telling your mind, especially when times get tough, why you are doing this in the first place. Remember you are trying to create a better future for you and your family. Going back to work for someone else is not an option for you. Just visualizing yourself at the mercy of others controlling your life, playing corporate politics, and reporting to incompetent bosses should be sufficient motivation to keep your mind right.
  • STAY AWAY FROM NEGATIVE PEOPLE. Time is precious for new entrepreneurs. Don’t be around people who are negative and who will try to bring you down. Your mind needs to remain positive and upbeat all the time. People can be negative simply because deep down, they are jealous that you had the courage to follow your own dream – not just talk about it.
  • SACRIFICE IS INEVITABLE. A big component of your “you can’t fail” mindset knows right away that certain sacrifices will need to be made along the way in order to achieve your dream. Entrepreneurs, who have made sacrifices and have prospered, realized early on that starting & building a great company comes at a price. There are not enough hours in the day to do all the things you want to do. Plus, there is just not enough money to buy all the things you want.
  • ACCEPT RISK TAKING. Your mind need to know, and accept right away that starting your own company, especially from scratch, involves risk. If you are a risk evasive type of person, chances of business survival will probably be slim. Taking risks can actually help entrepreneurs adhere to the “you can’t fail” thinking. Knowing that success comes to those who recognize risk, are unafraid of it, and will execute on their ideas.
  • VISUALIZE SUCCESS. Entrepreneurs need to visualize success at all times – not failure. Your mind needs to know although there will be many ups and downs, a light does exist at the end of the tunnel and it is bright. Very bright! By visualizing success, your actions will become more confident. And increased confidence breeds success. Remember customers or clients prefer to do business with people who are confident, knowing that buying their services and products will indeed help them.
  • KNOW THE KEY BUSINESS RULE. Understanding a key business rule can help keep failure thinking from creeping into your mind. When times get tough financially, you really have only two choices – either decrease your expenses, or increase your revenues. It really boils down to just that. Entrepreneurs with the “you can’t fail” mindset will make the necessary, tough and right decisions in order to keep their dream alive.
  • A HUNGRY DOG HUNTS BETTER. My dad was right. This does apply at some point, with entrepreneurs (including this one). When clients or customers are few and far between and money is tight or non-existent, the “you can’t fail” mindset really kicks into high gear. Successful past and future entrepreneurs will always find a way to drum up another sale.
  • WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN. Many new businesses fail because the entrepreneur did not think he or she had to write a business plan, especially if they were not seeking start-up funds. A business plan is the entrepreneur’s roadmap. It forces you to think about the entire business. Entrepreneurs who do their homework increase their chances for business success. Failing to plan is planning to fail!
  • SEE NUMBER 2 AGAIN! There are many other skills; actions and good old-fashioned luck that helps entrepreneurs avoid becoming another start-up casualty. But it all begins with the right frame of mind. There is no substitute for positive thought!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.