Repeat after me … I failed or I was wrong? … … You’ve failed or you’re wrong? … … He has failed or wrong? … …. ….

There is a difference, perhaps subtle? Between failure and being wrong taken a decision or doing something: both two are “screwing up” but it seems that in the first case, the result is disastrous and the second may still be a solution.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “failure” as:

1 .- when someone or something does not succeed

As for the word “wrong” (equivalent to “a mistake”) its definition is softer:

1 .- If someone is wrong, they are not correct in their judgment or statement about something

Then, it seems that the dreaded “failure” is somewhat stronger (or at least it sounds) just “a mistake” and yet, we just mixed it and that can be dangerous.

In an environment such as a Science and Technology Park, it is interesting to note the problems of the various entrepreneurs (and start-up-ers) when afloat their entrepreneurship. It is possible to draw some conclusions about similar patterns for similar results. I would rather not call it “business failure” (I consider it a status of “metastatic” final and irreversible) but “Loss of the North” which of course is reversible.

Failure is good? … Would be stupid to think so. It is not, of course not. It’s horrible but in the bad, you can learn a lot from one hand to enrich yourself as a person, the other to avoid common mistakes that led to the resounding failure. That is, learn (but it is better to learn without crashing into a wall, do not you think?)

And error? Is it good to be wrong? … Well, either, it all depends … on whether the mistake ends up causing a failure or just bad decision has been taken but that can be rectified, assuming the costs of the impact by mistake.Would anyone like to “mess up”? I think not, unless you have a cost.However, mistakes can be good because it allows me to define a more constructive strategy: either saves me from the bad situation or I can not repeat it.

Why we were wrong to make a decision? Reasons? infinite … invent many as you like.

What do I do when I face them? Here I want to point a magnificent show produced by my good friends Javier Escudero and Rafael Galán: “The positive error manifesto” in which they detail in a concise and clear attitude to take to errors to learn from them and reducing the impact of themselves.

And can we predict? It seems to be possible … we talked about it later.

But to highlight some aspects about which there may be a wrong decision from the point of view of companies:

Listen: it is important to spend time listening to criticism, opinions regarding our “idea” of business. To listen is to reduce the dose of ego.

Pay attention to details: when we think over our idea is the best, we drop our guard and do not pay attention to details that surround us and can be vital to any sudden change in the market.

Deepening the market carefully: analyze our competition is possible or not very important to follow the movement of these companies, how they cope with adversity ….

Self-criticism is not only interesting but vital: It has nothing to do with being negative or just the constant questioning of everything we do can be solving problems that may arise. Many entrepreneurs feel uncomfortable when challenged for their own essence, his initiative, when trying to play “cop-bad” / “cop-good.”

Risk Management. Are linked to self-criticism risk management. How many times has been silence for an answer when you ask “What if I do not go as you expect?”. We are so excited about our “idea” with our treasures (like Gollum) have no time to think about a possible plan B.

A candy called “grants”. Consider subsidies or grants as the main source of income is a strategy not recommended, if not unwise. Project sustainability is at stake when there is no plan B Financial. I have seen several cases in which the company is sinking for not finishing the subsidies, not to provide alternative sources of income.

Not greed or ambition “story of the dairy.” It is very important to set ambitious goals, not greedy or just “pie in the sky.” In many cases, we are both in the “cloud” we do not see the ground before putting the product on the market (which as yet is made) and we are selling all over the world … The internationalization of a company is an ambitious but can easily end up being the “story of the dairy.” There is a very interesting post on the blog about my good friend Javier Megias “Internationalization and firm, a view from the business model,” which I recommend reading.

The client, what is that?. It’s funny how sometimes we set up an initiative without the client, its growth potential, with its possible influence on the final product … so that really fit and yet, when we go to market we complain that the customer ” not-understood “the product. Listen, listen and ask a lot.

Now launched three questions, but delve into them in the second part (for not doing it longer) I leave in the “cloud” to go thinking:

1 .- If I mentioned this as a starting point of minimal elements of common sense, it is obvious why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over again?

I honestly do not believe in successful business models as examples, because if it were so simple the result would be different than we have. We speak of “successful business models” in the second half and it will link with two very interesting posts from a good friend, Jose Maria Mateu “Innovation in the Business Model.”

2 .- Is anyone doing anything effective to reduce mortality? (From the public and private).

The sum of errors can cause this failure and the death of a company. Are we properly manage the mortality?

From the private sector, the knowledge acquired by investor networks is vital that it would not hurt to organize an anti-time investment where the investors are the actors and the public entrepreneurs, where investors expose all that is doing err companies, and they can lead to business failure, and entrepreneurs to learn to take note of it.

From the public, I think you’re missing the North (ie, being committed because of “per se” blunders). Indicators such as “number of companies created per year” is no longer valid or useful, but “number of companies who die each year,” although I understand that the former sold more politically. As I said, the grants do not save anyone, are wooden boards with holes filled in a shipwreck keep you afloat but a little too hard as you grab just sinking. Talk about it too.

3 .- Is there any way of predicting business failure? (At least certain parameters to consider and monitor the result of summation errors which can cause a dismal failure)

It seems that there is. And even delve into the second part (or will need a third?) Will advance a very interesting work being carried out by the Department of Quantitative Methods in Economics and Management, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, led by Eduardo Acosta Gonzálezto predict business failure using genetic algorithms.

About Juan A. Bertolin

I consider myself a “orchestrator” to tackle challenges  putting together the hybridization of independent solutions to achieve a comprehensive and higher value added final solution (where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts). Since 2006 I started to enjoy supporting entrepreneurs and companies to grow, innovate co-opeting, opening spaces for open collaboration and sharing, integrating the customer experience and emotions in co-designing new innovative elements.

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