Corpcentre's Blog

April 18, 2010

How to Use Failure to Your Advantage

The word “failure” has negative connotations. It is hard to think of anything positive when discussing failures. Yet, many business leaders will tell you that failure is not the end of the world, nor is it only negative. While a business failure certainly implies setback, it also leaves the door open for improvement, change and opportunity.

American business leaders have embraced the opportunities presented by failures while Canadians lag behind in this respect. The inability or unwillingness to compete is a common denominator of many Canadian business disasters. One of the first lessons to be learned from a business failure is not to cut back but, rather, to dive into the marketplace and compete with all your might. Learn from failure and allow it to be the catalyst that is your driving force. In California’s Silicon Valley, business has embraced the concept of “failing well.” You made good decisions but circumstances were beyond your control. If you are good at what you do, you’ll eventually succeed. In Canada, the opposite is more common. If your business attempt failed, you’ll have a very tough time securing capital for another venture.

Failure in business can be one of your greatest teachers. Successful corporate leaders have learned from their mistakes and impart that wisdom to their employees as well. By sharing this wisdom with one’s staff, it carries the message that even the boss is not perfect. Moreover, it encourages staff to also learn from their mistakes. Every successful mega-company started small and did not achieve greatness overnight. When your staff appreciates the growing pains of a company, they can become part of the driving force to continue propelling the business forward.

This doesn’t mean that one should create a culture that focuses on failure. Just the opposite is true. A business environment should strive for success. Ultimately, that is the goal that we wish to achieve. However, every successful path has setbacks and failures. Learn to appreciate that none of us is perfect and we can learn something new everyday. The only way to avoid failure is to stop trying to achieve. Use every setback to your advantage and ultimately you will win.

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March 25, 2010

Do I Need a Business Plan?

A business plan sounds like a complex study. In some cases, it may be. But, the question is asked if every business truly requires a business plan?

The answer to that question is “yes”, more often than not. A viable business, rather small or large, should make use of a well-designed business plan at some point in time.

Starting at the time when the business is still but an idea, a business plan is an excellent way to organize ideas. It allows you to create a filing system in which the various cogs and wheels begin to come together into a working machine. Long before you begin actually getting the idea off the ground, your business plan allows you to draw a picture of your idea – so to speak – and stand back to take a look if there are any mistakes or problems. Also, none of us are perfect. Especially if we are dealing with a complex idea such as a new business, it is best to have others review our concepts. Your business plan is an excellent way to allow others to help you develop your thoughts and use their feedback to improve what you have begun.

As your business begins taking shape, you will need the business plan to help interest possible investors. Your bank may wish to see the plan when you begin discussing credit with them. Perhaps you have decided to take in a partner. The business plan will be dissected at your meeting. The business plan is the blueprint of your business. It should accurately describe the concept. It will discuss the goals, milestones, financing, cash flow, staffing, and virtually every aspect of your business. It is the theoretical side of the entity. Also, a good business plan should be updated as the business begins operating, especially in relation to financial projections.

Invest the time to write a proper business plan. It is an investment that will have a guaranteed positive return.

Here is some business plan software to get you started.

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