Why failing fast might be the smartest thing you do


Failure is a dirty word we typically spend our life avoiding. I, personally, did not feel comfortable losing or trying something that I wasn’t sure would work out. I realize now that this cautious approach really held me back.

You may have heard over the years things like “it’s not failure, it’s feedback” or “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “learn from your mistakes” and still felt like negative outcomes were just that, negative, wasteful, zilch, avoid at all costs.

What if we were to take a different perspective and take steps that we expected to lead to failure on purpose?

On a personal level it might look like trying a different sport each month for a year in order to discover an activity you love and that will provide a lifetime of benefit and enjoyment.

It shifts the perspective one might have of waiting for all the conditions to line up perfectly to creating an experiment in which one creates the conditions to take in a large amount of information and rule out a number of options.

In the business world it’s called failing fast.

It means that trying many things and moving on quickly is a good thing. Here’s why:

Learning from customers is key

Whether it’s a product or service, entrepreneurs spend too much time “envisioning” the perfect version of their baby and “imagining” the markets response. In actuality only the customer can verify whether or not the product has any value for them and that requires getting products and services in front of them to see if they will actually buy. Failing fast includes putting ideas in early development phases out into the world for feedback.

With this information you can decide whether or not to pursue it further or pivot – which might mean focusing on a new target audience, services vs. products, packages vs. customization or even changing your price-point.

Saving your money for the right idea

While it’s true that ideas and strategies take time and investment to launch, it’s usually very quickly on that we can tell if the investment is worth it. Making a greater investment upfront to launch a new product or service or new business altogether makes more sense than using up all your funds bit by bit over a much longer period of time trying to keep something afloat.

Approaching an idea with a proper plan (and using a minimum viable product) will help you figure out the point at which it is or isn’t working. It makes the decision to make changes or do something different altogether a much more objective one which can lead to pulling the plug early saving you money in the long run.

Closing up shop might be inevitable

There is a huge risk of entrepreneur clinging to an idea that has not been proven. A fail fast approach includes looking for proof early on and being willing to and move on when the idea isn’t validated. When you approach your business with your eyes wide open you are more likely to succeed eventually and that success can be huge.

Take my cousin for example. He’s an engineer who started his career in the airforce, not the standard entrepreneurial grooming. It isn’t surprising that he lost his first house to a failed venture at a time when he had three young kids. However, he’s intelligent, positive and tenacious and went on to co-founding a multi-million dollar industrial product business that now has locations worldwide. In this case, clearly early failure did not preclude major success.

True entrepreneurs are willing to accept that taking some risk, failing fast and moving on quickly is part of the process and a pre-requisite for future profit.

There are too many entrepreneurs hanging their heads over their computers feeling ashamed of their most recent shortcomings. If you know one of those, please forward this to them so they know they aren’t alone and that they might even be exactly on the right spot on the path.

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Lisa Princic is a Business Strategist & Membership Expert who helps thought leaders & niche experts build wildly successful memberships while making a positive impact. She helps entrepreneurs scale with powerful positioning & profitable programs designed around their zone of genius. A staunch believer in simplicity, Lisa helps her clients accomplish their goals by focusing on what to do AND what to ignore.

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