They're successful now, some with millions of dollars in sales under their belts. But they still bear the scars. When they talk about the experience, their voices rise in anger, drop to a whisper or quiver as if it had happened yesterday, not five, 10, even 20 years ago.
What they're talking about is business failure--and it's no wonder these entrepreneurs harbor such strong emotions. "People whose [businesses] fail are made to feel like characters in a Hawthorne novel, branded with a scarlet `F,' " says Jeffrey Shuman, director of Entrepreneurial Studies at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.
How, then, are some entrepreneurs able to pick up the pieces and start all over again? And why do many so-called failures find success the second time around?
The answer, say experts and entrepreneurs who've been there, lies in changing the way we look at failure. It means learning to accept, as Shuman puts it, that "failure is inevitable" for everyone. Yes, everyone--and, yes, that means you. You see, no one stands to learn as much from failure as the entrepreneur who hasn't been there--yet.