What do you do when you experience failure in your business? How can you handle it when things do not go as planned without throwing in the towel on your entire business?

woman hiding her face behind her shirt

We all have those times when we are feeling discouraged in our business. I shared some tips on how to deal with discouragement way back in episode 16, so take a listen to that if you need.

But there are times when we are actually experiencing some kind of failure. Perhaps we didn’t get that potential client to sign on when we really thought it would happen. Maybe you opened the doors to your course or program and didn’t get the sales you expected.

Perhaps you are working hard to grow your audience, but it feels like the more you do, the less followers you have. Maybe you collaborated on a project with another business owner and the entire thing fell apart.

All of this can feel like failure… and I want you to know, we all experience failure in our business journey.

There’s one thing that is really key to remember when this happens: You are not a failure. Your idea or your project might have “failed” but that does not mean you are a failure.

So what do you do when you experience failure? I’m sharing with you some tips based on how I try to deal with failure when it happens in my business.

How to Deal with Failure in Your Business

Acknowledge the failure.

It’s hard to do this, I know. But we have to admit and be honest when something doesn’t work out the way we planned. 

It’s like when Leslie Knope (Parks & Rec) gets recalled… She tries to avoid it and pretend it didn’t happen. But then her best friend comes to the rescue and helps her admit the failure.

“I wrote this. You need to hear yourself read this: ‘They held the recall election, and I lost. I was voted out of office. In 30 days, I will no longer be a Pawnee city councilor.’”

Just like Leslie, we need to get real with ourselves and admit that we experienced a failure.

Process your feelings about what happened.

Let yourself feel angry, sad, or whatever other emotion comes up. Write it down or talk it out… but give yourself the space to feel the feelings about what took place.

Along with this, talk to God about it! Tell him how you feel and why you are disappointed or angry or sad.

Evaluate the situation objectively.

Now it’s time to sit down and look at what actually happened.

If you didn’t sign a client, consider what some of the factors might have been. If you didn’t get the sales you wanted on a course, evaluate why that could have been the case.

Many times, we need someone outside of our business to help us with this process.

When I have had a failure, it’s been really helpful to go to a coach or mentor and discuss it with them. They ask me questions and help me to process what happened and why it might have gone the way it did.

They can help give you a reality check and remind you that you might be right in line with the “norms”… but it felt like a failure to you because your expectations were off.

I talk about this in depth in episode 38 if you want some additional support on determining if your marketing is working.

When I work with my clients, I try to bring them back to the numbers. Most of the time when I chat with them and dig into the details, they didn’t actually have a true failure. But they did have expectations or hopes that things would go differently than they did.

Through this process of objective evaluation, it’s helpful to try and pinpoint what some of the main mistakes were in the process.  Often what you think the problem is is not the real problem.

You might have thought you didn’t have a big enough audience… but maybe your sales page message wasn’t clear and compelling enough.

You might have thought the problem was your pricing… but maybe you just didn’t ask for the sale on the discovery call.

You may have thought people hated your offer… but perhaps you didn’t actually show up on social and email to make sure your people knew about the offer.

Determine what to change for the next time.

Now here is where the real magic can happen. Once you’ve identified what the real problem was, you can determine what to do next.

  • Do you need to tweak your discovery call process?
  • Do you need to get feedback on your sales page and change the messaging or design?
  • Do you need to have a better email marketing plan next time? 

Sometimes this step of the process is helpful to do with your coach or mentor and/or with some peers. Brainstorming some ideas about how to make changes for the future can be powerful!

Most of the time, the changes we need to make are not drastic. We don’t usually need to throw out all our offers or completely change our pricing. But we might need to make some changes to improve what we have, or more effectively sell the thing we do have.

Seek God’s Leading

And, of course, throughout this whole process, you want to be seeking God’s leading in your business. If you listened to last week’s episode, you got to hear from Holly Williams.

I loved the part where she talked about listening to God’s leading in her business and how she has trusted him in some of her decisions and changes. And oftentimes those changes are different from what the world might think or recommend that you should do.

In this process of evaluating the failure, make sure that you’re bringing this before God, that you are committing your business to him, that you’re surrendering all of the results to him and not taking those things on as representative of who you are and your worthiness.

Alright friend, I truly hope this episode has been helpful for you in dealing with a failure in your business.  Remember that you are not the failure, and that what you have to offer the world is important.

I want to share with you what Ann said to Leslie after she made her admit her failure. She said this:

“These are all your ongoing projects, everything you’re currently working on for Pawnee. You have things to do. You have a month left. Use it.”

I want to make sure if you have experienced a failure that you don’t let that take you completely off course from your mission. Always come back to your why; always come back to what God has called you to do. And don’t let that one failure take you off course.

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