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Why We Need to Change How We View Failure in Business in the UK



Entrepreneurship has seen a massive boom – both in the UK and in other markets – over the past decade. We have begun to change how we think about careers and employment, and see starting up a venture as a very good alternative to relying on what has been a volatile job market since the financial crisis around a decade ago. Last year, 650,000 new businesses were started in Britain, and more and more people are considering this as an option as we move into even more uncertain times on the job market thanks to Brexit.


Of course, a high proportion of new businesses do fail, for all kinds of reasons, and the more new businesses there are, the more failures you can expect to see statistically. Only around 40% of new UK businesses currently make it to their fifth anniversary. However, what has also been shown is that a business owner who fails is far more likely to be successful with a future attempt – whether it is at the same business idea or a new one.

Viewing Failure Positively

Nobody wants something they have put their heart and soul into to end up as a failure, however usually, there are quite a few good things one can take away from a failed venture. Maybe it didn’t make it to five years, but you got four years of making a living out of it. Maybe you take away some intellectual property and ideas you can use again in a future venture. What you’ll definitely take away is knowledge that may help you avoid similar problems in a second business. As an example, you may discover your downfall was cashflow, and learn that you could use a service like invoice financing from a company like Touch Financial to prevent that being a business killer again.

If you are looking to go into business it can be very disheartening to be told the statistics of how many businesses fail and sometimes it almost feels like those are being used to dissuade you from taking the risk. However, while every venture has a risk of failing at some point, almost none has the risk of leaving you less well equipped to succeed in future.

We should be encouraging would be entrepreneurs to get started and learn all they can, and encouraging owners of failed ventures to look towards their next project rather than giving up.

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