How to make Business mistakes work for you

It appears that failure is inevitable. The key to success is what you make of your failures. Anyone who’s ever succeeded in business knows that it doesn’t happen without a lot of failures along the way. The secret to lasting success is to treat each mistake as a learning experience that helps you and your business to grow. With the right mindset, you can turn these errors into opportunities to learn and improve future performance. They may even provide inspiration for a new direction or improvement for yourself or your business.

So how do you go about learning from your mistakes? Firstly, admit rather than deny. Take responsibility for your mistake, own up to it with openness and honesty. Denial will only increase the chance of repeating the error.

Determine why the mistake happened, asking questions designed to pinpoint its cause:

  • Did I have unrealistic expectations about what could be achieved?
  • Did I base decisions on incorrect assumptions?
  • Did I execute improperly after making the right decision?
  • Did I adequately prepare to take action?

Asking these types of questions helps you to better understand your thought process, enables you to identify any flaws in your thinking and eliminate them from your decision making process.

Sometimes taking the perspective of someone outside of your business can help you to look more objectively at your own actions. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your decision making process as if you were analyzing that of a competitor. Perfection and bad habits can sometimes contribute to mistakes. Take an honest and open assessment: Do you rush? Are you a perfectionist? Do you attempt to multitask?

Learning from others who have made the same or similar mistakes can also be of benefit. Have candid conversations with those in your network and their solutions may spark constructive thinking on your part. This is where a business mentor can be invaluable. They have most likely made similar errors and you will be able to learn from their experience for your business.

After doing some research, self-analysis and consulting with a peer or mentor you will have gained some idea of what went wrong and why and will be able to apply changes in the future. Depending upon the issue, resolve to work on one aspect at a time, rather than tackling the problem all at once. Now move on! Don’t become obsessed with your mistakes and adopt the realistic attitude that mistakes are inevitable but it is possible to learn from them. The new knowledge you acquire makes you and your business stronger, more resilient and less inclined to make the same mistake twice.

I was nominated in this year’s Ausmumpreneur Awards as Business Excellence Finalist which was a fantastic achievement and feeling of success for me.  Alas I didn’t come home with a winner’s trophy, what I did come home with was new relationships formed, inspiration and increased valuable direction for the business on the best way to move forward.  I personally approached each judge for my category and obtained valuable feedback as to where I went wrong in the judging process and what I could do better for next time.  The feedback I received was so valuable and when I asked myself those questions it resonated with me more and more.  The next twelve months planned in business for Balance Books is extremely exciting and to share some of our inspiration from the Ausmumpreneur Awards please view the attached short video link and enjoy watching Australia’s successful mums in business.


Sally Hams

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