It may be perfectly normal for startups to fizzle out, but that doesn’t make it any less miserable to experience. If you’re currently in the wake of a business failure due to financial struggles, you might be unsure how to proceed. 2Startups is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find the success they’re looking for, so we’ve come up with this guide to how to navigate your time between businesses as effectively as possible:
Reflect On Your Process
Your first step should be to take some time to reflect on the steps you took with your first business. This is not simply a matter of learning from your mistakes – you should learn from your successes, as well. After all, when it comes to running a business, it’s possible to do everything right and still fail. However, you’ll never know what you did and didn’t succeed at without dedicated reflection time.
Ask yourself honest questions about the choices you made and whether or not others may have been better for you. For example, if you didn’t register as an LLC, investigate this designation to see if it could have offered tax advantages that helped you stay afloat, or given you peace of mind through legal protections. Write your reflections down so you’ll have them on hand when you turn toward your next venture.
Make Room to Grieve
Next, allow yourself to grieve the business idea that didn’t work out. A business concept failing can be a major emotional event, and you should give yourself room to feel the feelings that come from it. Remember, it’s not just a loss of money or assets – you’re also feeling the loss of an imagined future, and the potential that came with it.
If you have trouble accessing your grief, consider putting it on your schedule. Block out an hour to be sad. It might sound kind of silly, but for high-performing individuals, scheduling in emotions can be strangely effective. The act of writing it down gives your mind permission to be vulnerable, to feel what needs to be felt, and gives you the time to do it.
This is also useful for people who are worried they’ll be overcome by their emotions, or who think that they can’t cope. An hour gives you time for the initial emotional release, plus some self-care and coping time to get yourself through those feelings in a healthy way. Practice a few coping techniques beforehand so that you have skills in your toolbox to navigate your way through this grieving process.
Another way to recover from a business setback is to seek and turn to your mentors. More experienced professionals, or even savvy peers, can be invaluable when it comes to starting again. They’ll also be able to help you go over the choices you made last time, but they’ll offer a new, valuable perspective which could be a game-changer going forward. Moreover, they may know of funding opportunities, and it never hurts to be on someone’s mind when you’re looking to start your next venture.
If you don’t already have a business mentor, now is the time to seek one out. There are many ways to develop a mentorship relationship with someone, but the simplest is to stay in touch and ask them for advice. Most mentorships happen naturally this way, so simply seek the advice of anyone you’re interested in learning from and, if they offer it, nurture that relationship.
Reflecting on your first attempt, giving yourself time to grieve, and seeking support are the first major steps toward trying again after a business failure. Once you’ve done these, you’ll be in a prime position to move forward on your next big idea, and well equipped to turn that idea into the business of your dreams.
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