How to restart a business
“I tried and I failed” – does this sound familiar?
If your business recently failed or closed, you’re not alone. Fifty percent of new businesses fail within the first year, and 80% fail in the first five years. Maybe you even filed for bankruptcy. Like so many others, you did what you could and then closed up shop. You’ll get a job for a while, or maybe try something new later on.
But you can’t shake the idea. You know it’s still strong. You still dream of success. The business you shut down has potential, and you’re sure you can make it work this time if you only knew how to restart a business.
“Success is not a straight line,” Tony has said. Few get it exactly right on the first try – or second or third. The difference between those who are successful in business and those who are not isn’t about how many times they fail or how bad their failures are. It’s about how quickly they get back up. It’s about hunger.
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Mapping your restart
Successfully restarting a failed business depends on mapping your new route. It’s tempting to simply announce yourself as open for business once again and seeing what happens from there, but if you don’t have landmarks you want to hit, your venture will collapse once again. Creating a business map gives you a top-down view of your company and shows you all the elements you might have missed the first time around, including long and short-term goals and how your product or service really affects your customers – and how you want it to affect them.
7 steps to restarting a small business
Developing your business map is a powerful way to steer your new efforts, but it’s not the only step you need to take. This venture takes mental and emotional strength, as well as a willingness to stay the course. Because your business already failed the first time around, you may be predisposed to seeing disaster in every potential setback; you may react more emotionally to situations that might be perceived as part of normal operations anywhere else. To ensure you’re prepared to turn your setbacks into success, make sure you take these seven steps as you go about restarting a closed business.
1. Don’t let fear control you
“The goal is to feel the fear, and if you do that then the sky is the limit.”
Breathing life into something that already failed is frightening. What if it fails again? Use fear as a motivator. Recognize that everyone feels fear. It can be a fear of losing control, a fear of rejection or, in the case of a failed business, the fear of failing all over again. Once you recognize your fear, you can overcome it. “You have to fail to be successful,” says Tony – and this is a vital thing to tell yourself. Mantras, meditation and priming are habits successful people use to control their minds – and you can, too
2. Identify your limiting beliefs
“The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.”
Energy follows focus, and when you point your energy toward thoughts of failure, failure often invites itself in. Common limiting beliefs when a business has failed include “I was never going to pull this off” or “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Change these statements to empowering beliefs like “I deserve to be successful” and “Successful people work hard.” Understand that success doesn’t just come to certain people – there is a psychology behind it. You must make a conscious decision to overcome limiting beliefs and change your state. When you focus your energy, your mind will do the rest.
3. Cultivate a growth mindset
“Failure either destroys you or drives you.”
Identifying your limiting beliefs is the first step to cultivating a growth mindset – and a growth mindset is key to restarting a small business. The belief that successful people are just lucky is an example of a fixed mindset, a belief that success depends on skills or gifts a person is born with, like intelligence or beauty. A growth mindset connects success with hard work and perseverance. Failure destroys people with fixed mindsets because they believe their success is based on innate qualities they simply don’t possess. Failure drives people with growth mindsets because they believe that with determination, success is just a matter of time. Just ask Serena Williams, who embodies the growth mindset.
4. Get in control of your emotions
“Real freedom comes when you stop allowing external events to shape your emotional experience.”
Failure of any sort brings powerful emotions with it. You may be fearful while restarting a closed business, but feelings like sadness, anger and shame may accompany it. These types of feelings can spin out of control when things get tough, which can steer your business toward disaster. Ask yourself, “Am I in control of my emotions?” You don’t want to make bad business decisions because you feel lingering anger or even guilt from your previous ventures. Learn to master your emotions so that you can make rational decisions and build the relationships you’ll need to restart your business. Your emotions aren’t wrong or bad, but when you gain control of them, negative experiences become something you can learn from instead of being hurtful reminders.
5. Turn your “shoulds” into “musts”
“We can change our minds. We can do, have and be exactly what we wish.”
If you want to take the island, burn your boats. That’s Tony’s way of saying that to achieve success, you must give yourself no other option. When you raise your standards and turn your shoulds into musts so many things become possible. Highly successful people are driven not only by the belief that they deserve success, but that they have to have it. When you leave yourself no method of retreat, the only thing you can do is scale the castle wall.
6. Ask yourself the right questions
“When people succeed, they tend to party. When people fail, they tend to ponder.”
Overcoming your limiting beliefs and changing your state are essential to restarting a failed business. There is still the matter of why you failed in the first place, though – have you analyzed the closure of your original business? Author and executive director of the MIT Leadership Center Hal Gregersen says, “Questions are the answer.” Get together with a small group, whether it’s your business partner, life coach or a mentor. Spend four minutes writing down provocative questions about how and why your business failed. You can even spend some time asking questions of yourself. You’ll come away with meaningful insights that will help you focus your energy in the right direction.
7. Make a better plan
“There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.”
When you view failure as a result and not a reflection of your character, you can break down how and why it occurred into facts and look at it objectively. This is how successful people use failure as a learning experience. Once you’ve asked the right questions, you can make a new business map that incorporates everything you’ve learned. Whether you’ve made a huge realization about constant strategic innovation or a failure that resulted from a series of operational mistakes, take responsibility and use your experiences. Even small changes have big results when you put them all together.
The secret of success is that it isn’t a secret at all. It’s about developing the mindset of a champion, believing in yourself and cultivating inner strength. Join Tony at Business Mastery to learn more ways you can take control of your business’ destiny and fulfill your dreams.
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