If you’re like most people starting a business, your biggest fear is failing. Why wouldn’t it be? More than a third of new businesses fail within two years.
But failure doesn’t have to be final — it can be a powerful driver of innovation for you and your company. “The more you fail, the more opportunities you have to succeed,” says social entrepreneur Saran Kaba Jones.
Jones is the founder and chief executive of Face Africa, a group working to improve access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa. Tapped as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, she has been able to capitalize on failure by approaching it with the right attitude and treating it as an experience to learn from.
Here, she shares lessons from the bumps and bruises of building her business:
It takes more than passion
It’s often said that passion and enthusiasm are the key to business success. But passion can blind new entrepreneurs to just how much money they need to sustain their business and how to go about getting it. Jones recommends taking advantage of your network and finding innovative ways to raise funds.
Don’t be cheap
Until you raise substantial revenue or funds, you need to run a lean operation. But a common mistake is to hold on to too much money at the expense of marketing and other tools needed to build a strong foundation. Those resources will increase chances of success, Jones says, explaining, “In order to make money, it takes money.”
Be open about failure
Every company makes mistakes. Trying to hide them from investors or the public will only make them worse. The best approach is to be transparent. Indicate to investors that your first attempt didn’t succeed, but that the second time around will be better because of the lessons learned.