How to Succeed After Your Startup Fails

What happens when your startup doesn’t work out?

It’s a question that no one wants to answer, let alone think about when they set out to start their own business, but it’s a very real outcome.

According to Bloomberg, eight out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.

Regardless, many ambitious founders think they’re going to be the exception, the success story that everyone will be reading about in Fast Company within a few months. But realistically, even startups will really good ideas, backers and employees fail. Read about the failure of a really promising startup here.

So then the question ultimately is; what’s next?

I recently spoke with a professional who’s business never quite got off the ground after two and half grueling years, despite a great idea, supporters and funding. However, what he did after his startup failed was really smart. He joined an organization that shares his ideals and is working toward the same problem he was trying to solve with his own business. He found this job by reaching out to an early supporter of his startup who understood his mission and connected him with the right people at his current company. Although now he doesn’t own his own business, he is still working toward his same goal and can better support his family. He also now has exposure to many like-minded and successful professionals he can learn from and who may be able to help him revive his business down the road.

The end of your startup should not be the end of your mission. If you want to solve a problem that you believe in but can’t do it yourself, look to join an established organization that shares your same goals and provides valuable solutions. You may find that your impact is greater in some cases and that the experience may help you finally succeed as an entrepreneur in the future.

What would you do if your startup failed?

4 thoughts on “How to Succeed After Your Startup Fails

  1. There’s a term used by the Lean Startup community called “pivot” — the idea is to try finding an adjacent market that is better than the original market you went after when you first had your startup idea. Dr. Steve Blank from Stanford and his student Eric Ries have written extensively about this concept and they’re well worth exploring for anyone who is in startup-land.

  2. Love the quote, especially the part that “failure is not fatal”, in fact, it’s an amazing learning experience. But before you start thinking “start up” and being your own boss think about hedging your bets, doing your homework if you will. Try not to ignore the fact that failure is becomes more apparent if you don’t have a well researched and thought out plan. Especially a plan that enlists like minds while fulfilling a widespread need in a untapped niche. There are no silver bullets only “smart work” or as Winston Churchill said, “It is the courage to continue that counts” As always, great advice.

    1. Great insights. It is so important to do your homework before starting a business, rather than just jumping on board. However, even lots of hard work and research can end in failure so it’s important to keep moving forward.

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