How to Recover From a Failed Strategy Is your strategy failing? Find out what you can do to overcome it and bounce back from the failure.

By John Kitchens

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

No one sets out to have a bad strategy, but sometimes things don't go as you expected, and they can be off track before anyone realizes it. We often run into pitfalls and roadblocks that we just can't seem to get around. Then, suddenly, we find ourselves in a situation where the growth of the business is stunted. This can be incredibly frustrating. However, having a failed strategy does not mean that you've reached the end of the line. Recovery is always possible. Here are a few things you can do to recover from a failed strategy:

Do not mistake your goals for strategy

A lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking that their goals are strategy. Your goal is what you want to achieve, while your strategy is how you're going to achieve it. There is a big difference between the two. Strategy is not simply your goal statement — rather, it is a plan for conquering challenges and growing your business. It is a specific set of actions you take to achieve your goals. Learn to differentiate your goals from your strategy to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what your strategy should look like.

Related: How to Recover Gracefully From Mistakes and Failures

Be precise

Failed strategies often consist of strategic concepts that are vague and complicated. These are traditional strategies that are inflated in words to give the impression of high-level thinking. But in reality, these strategies lack the precision to be executed and often lead your team to more confusion.

In order to recover from a failed strategy, you need to be clear and concise about what it is you're trying to achieve. Cut out all the fluff, and get straight to the point. Be as specific as possible when communicating your objectives. This way, everyone will be on the same page, and everyone can implement it without any hindrance.

Proper evaluation is a must

One of the most vital parts of your strategy is having your own strategic objectives. When strategic objectives are in place, you can have alternative guiding policies or action plans to take in the case of failure. It is your means of overcoming any issue that might be critical to the business.

We often make the mistake of creating objectives that are impractical or unsuitable for the business. As a result, the strategy fails to address the most critical issues. This happens because no proper evaluation was made. The most crucial problems are often overlooked, because we don't know what the actual problem is. If we want to recover from failure, we must not forget to look at the basics. Always do a proper evaluation. Get clear on what critical issues you are trying to solve. Learn to be aware of the real problem before establishing your strategic objectives. This way, you can have a strategy that is more suited to what your business needs.

Related: 6 Proven Strategies to Rebound From Failure

Get to the fire

A lot can happen in a business, and it's hard to keep track of everything. This is especially true when you're in growth mode, and things are constantly changing. We can get caught in a lot of distractions that take us away from our main objectives. This can lead to a poorly executed strategy.

In order to recover, you need to understand that strategy can be two things at once. It can be smoke and fire. They are two different things. Keep in mind that a lot of the stuff that comes at us with our team and with our relationships is just smoke. Don't get caught up in the smoke, because it can suffocate you. It can take away the oxygen that we need to be able to breathe to be able to survive. Instead, get to the fire. Figure out what's going on, move forward, and get to the real issue. Find a workaround and resolve it. Do not be distracted. Remember to face the real challenge, and execute your strategy with a clear head.

A failed strategy can be a major setback for any business. But with the right mindset and actions, there's always a way to overcome it. Always keep in mind that it's never a shame to fall down, what's important is that you get back up and learn to move forward with a plan.

Business Strategies, Entrepreneurial Advice & Inspiring Stories are all in one place. Explore the new Entrepreneur Bookstore.

John Kitchens

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of John Kitchens Coach

John Kitchens is the most sought-after systems and processes coach for real-estate agents that want to turn their real-estate practice into a business. He is an expert in identifying constraints and honing strategies that lead to clarity and success.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Growing a Business

Free Webinar | October 24: Grow Your Local Business With These Low-Cost Marketing Tricks

Whether you're a small business owner, marketer, or entrepreneur, our exclusive webinar will equip you with the tools to connect with your community, boost engagement, and drive revenue. Register now →


5 Habits That Build Mental Strength

Real estate investor Cole Hatter shares the ways he developed fortitude on the most recent episode of The Jeff Fenster show.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2023.


Get This 4-in-1 USB-C Charger for Apple Devices for $19.99

Get this useful, lightweight charger for a great price (regularly $29).

Money & Finance

Want to Become a Millionaire? Follow Warren Buffett's 4 Rules.

Too many entrepreneurs are counting too heavily on a company exit for their eventual 'win.' Do this instead.


A Guide to Effective Crisis Leadership — Key Steps to Lead Your Team Through Turbulent Times

The essential strategies and skills required to be a successful crisis leader and guide your organization through difficult times.