Dealing with failure


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“Errare humanum est” goes the old latin proverb reminding us that to err is only human.

In business, failure has been named as one of the most important teachers. You learn more from failure than from success, some authors claim. It does happen that most people tend to agree with that only after they’ve achieved that, sometimes elusive, success after a string of failures.

For startups, the lean startup methodology even say that you should aim for failure. Well, maybe not explicitly that, as no one would buy it, but implicitly, by recommending you release early, you do not wait for a perfect product and release a minimally viable product instead. Now that might not be failure to you, on the contrary, it might be a huge success, especially if you iterate quickly and improve your product visibly.

But have you asked your potential customers what they think of that?


And that’s because customers and potential customers do not want failure. Failure is good to learn from, but no one wants to explicitly aim for failure and no one wants to pay for it.
So your customers might start to think twice about continuing with your services or perhaps choose your competitor if they haven’t made their mind up.

So yes, failure is good, as long as you don’t mention it to your customers, which is why the main strategy for a long time was to hide it from them by all means. Sometimes even deny the obvious or hide behind a “no comment” line.

However, the SaaS model, social CRM and the social customer have changed all that. Now failure is more public than ever and it’s almost impossible to hide anymore.

Dealing with failure has to change too and the only way to do it is accept it, admit it, apologize and fix it quickly. Prevent it from happening again, or too often.

So rethink how you deal with failure today. You have no choice!


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