10 Strategies for Entrepreneurs Dealing With Failure

Failure feels like being crushed, but it's just a feeling. In reality, it's your opportunity to become stronger.

learn more about Barrett Wissman

By Barrett Wissman

Westend61 | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Failure, for entrepreneurs, is inevitable. This might come in the form of small losses, like losing an important deal to a competitor, or in big ones, like being unable to make payroll.

The best entrepreneurs, however, are not defined by these failures but rather by how they deal with them. Navigating difficult situations both externally and internally is crucial to being a successful entrepreneur. When faced with this failure, here are 10 ways to better handle it:

1. Be prepared.

You do not have to come up with full contingency plans for any type of failure. Although, being mentally prepared for failing and difficult times is critically important. If you have expectations that things are going to go perfectly according to plan, then, once they do not, those hard moments will be more difficult than you will expect.

Related: A Look at the Demanding Schedule of Elon Musk, Who Works in 5-Minute Slots, Skips Breakfast and Avoids Emails

2. Find what can build your energy back up.

Better understanding yourself and the outlets that you need to deal with difficulty is underrated. People who know what they need to feel better and think clearer are much more equipped for facing hardship head-on. This could be in the form of exercising, spending time with people that you care about, or going to an inspiring and isolating spot.

3. Do not make emotional decisions.

It is easy to make emotional decisions immediately after something negative happens. Doing so is often detrimental, though. Even if it means taking five minutes to go collect yourself, it is worthwhile. Making rational as opposed to emotional choices prevents your problems from compounding.

Related: 8 Hugely Successful People Who Didn't Graduate College

4. Have a strong support network.

Surrounding yourself with friends, family and mentors that can be supportive during hard times can prevent feelings of isolation. You might feel alone in your job, but having people around to make you feel loved and important outside of work can keep spirits high. These people can also be great outlets for advice or processing important decisions.

5. Reevaluate your situation.

Failure is a great opportunity to reevaluate your situation. You should be asking yourself why you failed, how you feel about it and what you should do next. If your company drastically underperformed, then it is a great opportunity to look within and ask why that happened. If it is because you didn't put in the necessary work, you should ask how much you really care about what you are doing.

Persevering through failure is critically important, but that doesn't mean that you should tell yourself you have to be failing often to get a lot out of life. Failure could be a sign that what you are doing is not for you. Being honest with yourself about that could save significant energy and happiness. Forgetting about how much time you have invested up front and evaluating the situation for the currently given context can help you decide on next steps.

Related: Do These 50 Things Regularly and You'll Become a Better Entrepreneur

6. Do not take yourself too seriously.

Sometimes it feels like the end of the world when we fail. In some cases, these failures are more extreme than others. That being said, putting your situation in context with the grand scheme of things is relieving. Failure is a part of life and as difficult as it seems in the moment, everything is going to end up being alright.

7. Disassociate the failure from yourself as a person.

One of the hardest parts of failing is disassociating the situation with you as a person. If your company fails, it is easy to blame that 100 percent on yourself as a person. That is not the case, though. Everybody deals with failure in their life. Imagine what the world would be like if it were easy for everybody to get exactly what they wanted (or thought they wanted).

Letting yourself become strongly attached to the failure will make handling it a lot more difficult. Instead, understand and recognize it while continuing to live your life, happy with what you are working toward.

Related: That Time Bill Gates Answered a Tech Support Call ... and Crushed It

8. Do not dwell on it.

Looking back in history, everyone that has accomplished significant work has failed. J.K. Rowling had the Harry Potter books turned down by innumerable publishers. Albert Einstein could not even score a gig as a professor.

Losing happens to everyone and getting down about it is not going to accomplish anything productive. Instead, forward-thinking will enable you to get past the problem and work toward a brighter future.

9. Learn from it.

Moving on is necessary, but asking yourself why you failed is also important. It is insanity to do the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Learning from your mistakes and how you can be better next time is one of the hardest parts of failing. It is difficult to ask those hard questions and deal with the answers that might come up. Doing so, though, will inevitably prevent you from making the same mistakes in the future.

Related: How 5 Entrepreneurs With Household Names Turned Failing Businesses Into Successes

10. Understand what you are getting yourself into.

As an entrepreneur, you are going to face a lot of failure. If you are looking for a safe life without many ups and downs, or you have a hard time handling failure, then starting a company might not be the thing for you. Setting your expectations effectively and knowing what you are in for will help with the challenges.

Barrett Wissman

Chairman of IMG Artists and Principal in Two Pillar Management

Barrett Wissman is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and concert pianist. He is chairman of IMG Artists, a performing-and-cultural arts entertainment business, and a principal in Two Pillar Management, which represents and partners with social media brands, influencers and celebrities.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.

Business News

Amtrak Introduces 'Night Owl' Prices With Some Routes As Low As $5

The new discounts apply to some rides between Washington D.C. and New York City.

Business News

A Laid-Off Meta Employee Says She Wasn't Given Anything to Do: 'You Had to Fight to Find Work'

Claims about the company laying off thousands of employees who didn't have real jobs have been discussed online.

Business News

Meta Employees Interrogate Mark Zuckerberg in Town Hall Meeting

The CEO fielded tough questions from rattled staffers at an all-hands meeting.

Business Solutions

This Highly Rated App Could Help Business Owners Stay Organized

Get your business in order with this personal organizer app on sale for $60.