Failure is often part of building a good business, but it doesn't have to be.
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When it comes to doing anything new, you have two choices: the first is to put in the hard yards, learning through trial and error as you reinvent the wheel; the second is to learn from those who have already navigated a pathway to success.
I personally know many business owners, business leaders and entrepreneurs that have started businesses, achieved phenomenal success, perhaps even sold their business, but have failed to embed the lessons they learnt.
They’ve spent the next decade frustrated, setting up numerous new ventures, which never delivered the same levels of success. Why does this happen? Because they never had a replicable framework that allowed them to deliver consistent, repeat- able, predictable results every time!
I learned early in my career that observing and emulating the habits, processes, and attitudes of successful people was a reliable way to fast track my own success. On reflection, this was one of my most important life lessons and it has stayed with me ever since.
Leaving school at 16, I was keen to get into the real world and start earning money, and my first opportunity was an apprenticeship at a construction company where I completed a four-year rotation through each department of the business.
That could have been a long process of trial and error for me, but instead, my very wise site manager advised me that as I moved into the various departments, I should ask the three best people in each area what they thought I needed to know in order to be successful from day one.
Despite what happened to the cat, curiosity is good for you
When I joined the planning department, I asked the three best planners, who shared tips and tricks I would otherwise have had to learn the hard way. When I joined the quantity-surveying department, I did the same.
Adopt a Success Modelling Approach
If there is one idea that can ‘fast track’ your success: personally, professionally, and in your business, it’s this: success modelling! You can either develop yourself and your business the hard way or the easy way . . . which pathway are you currently on?
The first pathway is the hard way: learning through your mistakes, trial and error and constantly re-inventing the wheel. This road can be long, winding, and a painful experience! Sometimes we become so locked in our own world, so inwardly focused on thinking we can do it all ourselves and we know best, that we simply miss the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.
Is there an easier way? Yes, and top achievers follow this second pathway. They have an insatiable need and thirst for discovery, tapping into the success formula of those who have already been there and done it.
Knowing that if they learn from their lessons, they might just accelerate their own journey, and in the process, avoid some of the common pitfalls which can easily derail and sabotage their success.
It doesn’t mean there isn’t some trial and error involved. When a child learns to walk, they start by modelling the people around them, but they still fall over constantly to begin with.
Why does a second sibling generally develop faster than the first? Because they have a role model to emulate and copy, they are ‘success modelling’ from an early age.
Second children have got it made
The optimum solution therefore is a blend of pathway two – modelling other people’s success – and pathway one – trial and error – testing out some of your thinking and ideas, making some healthy mistakes, and learning from them fast.
Modelling other people’s successes, here’s how you can do it;
#1 Find a Mentor: Most people are willing to share their experiences – good and bad – and a Mentor will tell you how it is with no hidden agenda or emotional attachment. They are willing you to succeed and will impart their knowledge and skills to help you on your way.
#2 Build your personal and professional networks: Join social groups, online forums, business communities and network with like-minded individuals. Share your business ideas and challenges openly within a collaborative group.
#3 Become really curious: Some of the best ideas come from what others are doing in completely unrelated markets and sectors to your business. The trick is to consciously and constantly think about how you can adapt, adopt, personalize and apply successful ideas from elsewhere to your own business growth strategy.
#4 Just ask: You’ll be amazed how many people are open to sharing their experiences with you and feel humbled to be asked. The key is just asking and don’t be surprised how many people say yes.