Let’s start with the obvious elephant in the room, or more exactly the word we are all pretending not to see. MISTAKES. Funnily enough, when you think about its etymology, mistake means nothing more than missing a take. You aim for something, and you don’t fully achieve it. Put it that way; it sounds less dramatic than what we make out of it.
In everyday life, the term mistake can give us cold sweat, nightmares, or even panic attacks. A mistake is a lot more than missing a take in the human mind. It is a tragedy. We seem to believe that we are not allowed to do anything wrong. The main reason errors appear to have such long-lasting, if not permanent, consequences is that we can’t forgive ourselves. Why are mistakes so bad? After all, they are part of the learning process. We all crawled before we walked. We don’t remember all the moments we fell as we tried to stand up. We don’t remember because these moments didn’t matter, not because they didn’t exist. Yet, as adults, we can’t move past the first fall we encounter. Worse, we can’t think to remember anything but the fall. What changed? The answer is simple: Your expectations changed. You thrive for perfection, even though perfection doesn’t exist. So, of course, you are afraid of anything that isn’t perfection. Mistakes couldn’t be further away from perfection. However, it’s time to go back to reality. Mistakes are not an end. They are merely a stepping stone on your way to self-improvement. You will never be perfect. But you will get better, and the mistakes you make, the more you can learn. So, what can a business do to move past its mistakes and build success?
Find the lesson in the mistakes
The best-laid plans of mice and go often go awry. Indeed, no matter how carefully you prepare, you may come across a situation you have not considered, and there is an opportunity for things to go wrong. The most philosophical minds among us may call it life. In reality, unexpected events or circumstances could arise at any moment. One of the key purposes of creating a business plan is to avoid mistakes. Taking the wrong direction, failing to read the market’s needs, or even bringing the wrong communication out. Business mistakes occur, even with a detailed plan. But you can learn from previous mistakes to prepare your future plan and define the best course of action to avoid them.
Recover from the mistakes
Do all mistakes have long-term consequences? It fully depends on how it affects your business. Some fantastic business opportunities can drag your finances down if a client fails to pay. When a new client gets in touch, you tend to put in extra hours and a lot of hard work to impress them. Small businesses often discover too late why the new client came to them rather than going to bigger competitors: competitors may know something you didn’t know, for instance, that the client is unlikely to pay on time or at all. When this happens, clients can react in two different ways. Some may be apologetic and seek to negotiate new payment terms. Others may prefer to protect themselves from repercussions by leaving negative reviews or damaging the brand. Not being paid and suffering a brand reputation crisis can put your business at risk. That’s precisely why small businesses must be quick to react and seek professional debt collection services as soon as they’ve identified the situation. The sooner you can resolve the financial issue, the quicker you can also protect your reputation as a business.
Apologise for your mistakes
Sorry seems to be the hardest word, as Elton John sings. There’s a reason for that. Saying sorry is about admitting you’ve made a mistake and therefore showing vulnerability and honesty. Will customers stay if you admit to your wrong-doings?
As many businesses have experienced, customers are more likely to stick with you if you are able to admit you’ve done wrong. In an ideal world, customers would prefer not to be at the receiving end of a mistake. But if it happens — and let’s be honest, it will happen because no one is infallible —, businesses that go above and beyond to apologise are more likely to protect their relationship with the customers. Customers are more understanding than you expect, as long as they feel they are being valued. Therefore, an honest approach, admitting the mistakes and focusing on repairing them, can often be more beneficial for the trust relationship than not making any mistakes at all.
When it comes to handling mistakes, there are two crucial things that every entrepreneur must remember. Firstly, mistakes are unavoidable despite your best efforts. They happen, and they will continue to happen in a variety of inventive and unexpected ways. Secondly, mistakes are not necessarily a death sentence for a business. They can be an opportunity to learn, be fixed, and help nurture honest relationships.