3 Ways to Master and Deal with Failure as A Startup Founder

It is very important that startup founders learn and master how to deal with failure since it’s part of the success journey. Though this is not easy, it’s very learnable.

Don’t be deceived by the perfect status updates of founders on social media about a recent investment deal closed, a selfie with a global business icon or a pitch award at a major startup event. There are a lot of hustle and sometimes tears (men don’t cry, right? Well…) that go on behind the hood that a lot of founders can’t deal with not to talk of sharing it to encourage people.

I believe sometimes there are more lessons to learn in failure than success. Most entrepreneur success stories that inspire us a lot are because there were so many failures to deal with until they became successful and then we say to ourselves we also can if this person was able to do it. Strive Masiyiwa says he never gets frustrated by failures and challenges but rather he focuses on finding the opportunities being created for him.

Bill Gates puts it that, “…it’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Personally, I have had to deal with some failures in my journey as an entrepreneur. I may not have lost a billion dollars or a million users. But I have failed at closing an important investment deal, losing a good amount of money, failed businesses and many more. It really hurts when all the devoted time, hardwork and money you have put into a business doesn’t pay off. But these failures thought me a lot of success lessons and made me a better person.

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I developed these three ways to deal with any failure that comes my way. This is not because I expect failure but to master it when it comes. Below are the three ways;

1. Revisit your vision

Every founder has a deep burning reason why they started a particular business and hope to accomplish them. I started out to contribute to fighting hunger and poverty by building a robust food system that has the capacity to end hunger and poverty. Going back to this reason will rekindle your passion to get you over it. Focusing on the bigger picture blurs the current failure.

2. Talk to people about it

One of the important ways to deal with failure is to share with employees, friends and families. This will ease the pain resulting in a better feeling. Failure increases a lot of negative energy in our body and the more we share the more we decrease this negative energy and replace it with a positive one. But choose the right people since talking to the wrong person is worse as the failure itself. Know your trusted circle and approach them in such times.

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3. Draw out lessons

Every failure teaches unique success lessons. It is up to you to look deep and ask yourself what can I learn from this? This will help you to avoid future failures. Mistakes are okay but not when you have not learnt any lessons from it and repeat the same mistakes (though sometimes it can happen). Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways that won’t work to create the light bulb until the breakthrough.

Sometimes in the failure exists the breakthrough. So don’t beat yourself the next time. Use these three tips and master failure.


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