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Trust Me, You Want to Be A Failure First.

It’s fun to see a group of small business owners form a group, grow, and learn together. These folks wear multiple hats, juggle multiple tasks, work with multiple people, many times across multiple platforms.

There is little if anything small about the “small” business owner. At One Degree Capital, we refer to them as “significant” business owners, because, to them, the decisions they make and actions they often take involve a high level of risk or giant leap of faith.

A group of significant business owners came together, as they do each Wednesday morning, to talk about their challenges. The group, 1 Million Cups Prince William, celebrated its 2-year anniversary of helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

The topic of the milestone meeting was one few like to discuss: Failure. Sure, we all read, and watch success stories on TV. Everybody loves a winner.

The fact is, all winners failed before they won. In many ways, success is how we deal the with failure, what we learn from it, and how we move on.

Many say we live in the “information age,” or the “computer age.”

Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, recently told his team members “adapt or else.” We often hear that we live in the “information age” or “big data” is here today. It might be better said that we are in the “Learning Age.”

To me, it is important that we learn to try and fail, but never fail to try.

It’s also important that we learn to fail, and fast. Time is a precious commodity, and it’s heartbreaking to know you kept a project or a relationship going beyond the point of no return. The time lost, well, it is just that.

To avoid this, start simple and map out where you want your business to go. What are your goals? Identify whose lives you can make better if they use your product or service. Start small and be specific.

The people in which you surround yourself must support what you do. They are your support system.

It’s been said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Surround yourself with learners and builders, and establish a relationship with a mentor or board of advisors. They will be there when needed to help us understand when we should pull the plug on a project, or pivot to move in another direction.

Bruce Waldack, president of digitalNATION, always had some small products and projects in the works. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t.

The important thing is to get up and try. It’s no secret the theme song for entrepreneurs should be Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping. You know the one: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down.”