How to recover from failure

Over the years in my business career, I have made or implemented decisions that have failed. Sounds odds right, I mean you would think that by now I should be quite good at what I do, its been, 12 years already! But yet, I have made some really big mistakes, from hiring the wrong people to costing the company zillions because I’ve neglected to follow through all the processes with our wholesale business, to a whole host of other stuff.

I should also add that I actually hate failing. I mean it sucks and each time something goes wrong I beat myself up. BUT get this, I learn so much from when things go pear shaped and when they do this is what I do:

  1. Drill into what actually went wrong, like immediately!
  2. Make adjustments
  3. Try again
  4. Drink wine!


One of the biggest most costly mistakes we made recently was working with a new factory in Asia and not checking the finished result before it was shipped over. I mean, we saw pictures and everything looked OK and the samples were great but when the container arrived all the vessels the products were glazed differently, oddly-shaped and it was a total disaster. A big expensive disaster, they had to be offloaded to a third party immediately and it cost us a lot of money.


I’ve learnt from that costly mistake we are all over checking the quality (hence the numerous trips abroad), and are super-cautious when we work with someone new. We check whom they’ve work with before, relentlessly check samples and build and work on creating good relationships. Sometimes when you start out with a new factory it all sounds too good, lead times are short, prices are great and yet whenever it feels too good a big fat red flag goes up.


There have been times when I’ve wanted to bail on the wholesale side its so much more complicated and costly than retail – there’s more to gain but then there’s so much more to loose. Those feelings usually last for a day but then a new day comes around and I’m fired up ready to do better next time. I can’t have it put me off, I haven’t worked this hard to give up.

And that’s the thing with success most people see how we’ve grown, expanded and are doing well and don’t see (and nor should they by the way) the challenges and tough times. My point is you actually need to fail in order to succeed. Every failure has value in it. In failing we rethink and reconsider and that leads to success.

The other thing about failure is it makes you operate outside of your comfort zone. It makes you push, fight, hunker down, be more determined, motivated and perseverant – it makes you not give up.

Every failure I’ve had (after the beating myself up bit) I’ve seen as a temporary set back, and I’ve learnt from it. In a weird way it’s actually moved my business forward in ways I hadn’t imagined. I shall leave you with this quote that says far more and to the point, “if you’re not failing, you’re doing something wrong”.

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