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Why Entrepreneurs Need to Embrace their Failures Vishwas Mudagal, says failure in past ventures taught him a great deal

By Agamoni Ghosh

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It's always pleasant to talk about enterprising individuals who have been able to successfully take their ventures to scaling heights, but rarely do we discuss about the failures attached to risks taken by entrepreneurs. There are more failure stories than success in the domain of entrepreneurship but seldom are we taught to embrace failure and move forward.

"The mentality where failures should be accepted has to come into the Indian society. Risk will always be there in whatever you do and more so as an Entrepreneur, but we need to start embracing our failures," says Vishwas Mudagal, CEO and co-founder of GoodWorksLabs and author of the book Losing my Religion.

Learning from failure

Failure is never one-layered, it may have multiple facets. While most ventures that do not break-even in a stipulated period are traditionally called failures, there are many that gain outstanding traction in the beginning, but fail to maintain the same, thus leading to its demise.

Having experienced the latter with his first venture, JobBhive which had to shut down, Mudagal says, "It's ok to fail, but not ok to not learn from those mistakes." "We were aping the west when we started as our main focus was on gaining traction but we ignored the fact that we needed to have a strategy to monetize as well. That was a lesson learnt," he said.

Second chances

Once a venture that you so deeply believed in fails it becomes tough to keep the confidence in yourself alive. But Mudagal believes there always will be another opportunity that will take you hopefully to a better path.

"After my company shutdown, I did not know what to do. I felt like a loser. You cannot escape this as the ghosts of failure always come to haunt you," said Mudagal while addressing budding Entrepreneurs at the 7th Annual Entrepreneur India Convention in New Delhi.

Shortly after the once failed Entrepreneur got a call from a Canadian company to be its CEO which he initially thought was a prank call, but later realized the company appreciated the technology he used for his previous venture. Mudagal believes that was his opportunity to start again and after a stint there he came back more prepared and stronger to start GoodWorkLabs.

Taking a new approach

The layout and implementation of a new strategy requires not just a fresh dimension, but tackling older problems as well. The challenges may be several especially for a market like India, which is not as mature as the West and lacks sizeable infrastructure. That however, should not be a barrier to wanting to grow and tackle your failure in a new way thinks Mudagal.

"Things are changing. Can you imagine alternate and lucrative professions like Ola and Uber drivers a decade back. It's all the result of these great ideas which someone at some point may not have acknowledged," said Mudagal. He however, warns, "It's imperative to take time off and not jump into another venture. Honing skills or understanding the need of the market is important when re-entering the market." .

Agamoni Ghosh

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

She was generating stories out of Bengaluru for Entrepreneur India. She has worked with leading national and international business publications, including Newsweek, Business Standard, and CNBC in the past. 

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