No matter how smart or innovative you are, the fear of failure is definitely a problem; it’s kept many entrepreneurs from realizing success.
All entrepreneurs feel that fear. In fact, it’s often what lights the fire in our belly and leads to success.
There’s definitely an attitude that helps to battle failure and give yourself a better shot at success, though.
Aggressively pursuing improvement is the best defense against failure.
That’s right: it’s as simple as working hard at getting better.
A lot of us just go kick on the cruise control once we’re comfortable but being uncomfortable is what drives us to becoming successful.
In other words, the fact that we’re improving is the success.
Once we stop improving, we’re inviting someone to pass us up.
How To Keep Improving
Continuously improving is easier said than done, though. Even Facebook’s monster growth is slowing.
Good news: there’s some small attitude changes you can help you avoid failure.
What Are You Improving?
The first step in improving is thinking about what you should be improving. It seems like these days all managers are focused on growing revenue.
More money is nice, but it’s not an effective measurement of improvement. It’s sure as hell not sustainable.
You should focus on improving your customer experience. An awesome customer experience sets you up for fast – and sustainable – growth.
Rethink Your Goals
One mistake that many entrepreneurs seem to make is in setting goals.
Let’s be honest, too many of us just don’t set goals. Even those of us who do often take the wrong perspective most of the time.
We’re taught to set goals like “make $$$$ in July” or “sign XX new contracts next month”.
I argue that a smarter way to set goals is to base them around improvement – and I’m not talking about “increase revenue by XX%” either.
Revenue alone doesn’t always beat failure.
I think goals like “make XX improvements to my product based on customer feedback” are way more effective.
Goals like this force you to improve your customers’ experience.
Make Innovation a Habit
I’m sure you’ve heard by now of Google’s 20% rule. You should adopt a similar attitude to innovation.
Building improvement and innovation into your daily or weekly schedule will keep you at the top of your game.
For example I spend between 2-4 hours every morning reading articles about business and marketing.
I was lucky enough to realize early on that I don’t know everything. A lot of entrepreneurs aren’t so fortunate.
It seems too many entrepreneurs are too independent. It’s OK to ask for help sometimes.
In fact inviting feedback is a great way to improve your customer experience.
Try asking people who have a totally different perspective (customers for example), and make sure you collect a good mix of data (emotional vs. analytic for example).
Leverage Your Data
On the same note, take some time to understand the data you collect.
The most basic pieces of data can reveal an easy way to greatly improve your customer experience (and therefore revenue).
In other words, examine all your data and reports carefully to beat failure.
How Do You Stay Ahead of Failure?
Share your tips in the comments!