The Japanese proverb, "Fall seven times, stand up eight" makes a great mantra but too often, marketers are so busy trying to stand up that they don't examine those falls to help them get up next time. The very act of falling down can yield vital information into your process, your business and your path to success. Highlighting business failures can be just as vital to success as achieving milestones. Use these steps to find failure in your company and use it to power success.
Innovation requires risks and failures. When employees or business owners don't embrace failure, they stifle the ability to innovate. Creating a company culture that encourages failure is essential to growth. When a plan is researched and implemented but met with failure, looking for a scapegoat prevents future innovation. Encourage employee innovation by celebrating meaningful attempts at success.
Audit Your Mistakes
There's a dangerous instinct to bury failure. Trying and failing can seem embarrassing and in some ways counterproductive towards building a successful business. Within failure lies some valuable lessons. A failed marketing plan may reveal weakness with your customer acquisition process. A failed procedure may unearth differences between the processes employees are performing everyday and what managers believe is happening on the floor. Commit to quarterly audits to find mistakes and debrief with staff to discover why they were failures and what steps might make them successes. While not every idea can be a winner, they all can contribute to future success.
Measure Each Failure
In too many companies, the success or failure of a single project hinges on one parameter. When a project doesn't increase the bottom line or reduce customer wait time, it's thrown out the window without a second glance. Completing a full assessment of each project, even if it's already been deemed a failure, can help uncover unintended consequences and benefits of each experiment. Companies can discover while maybe a streamlined process didn't speed up production, it did increase employee satisfaction or save on waste. Taking a 360-degree view of the results can help direct future efforts and achieve success faster.
Encourage Collaborative Failure Discussions
Many innovations live and die within a single department. The marketing team launches an ad campaign falls flat or front-line employees attempt to streamline the customer process without success. Not utilizing the experience of all your different departments may be hampering your success. When initiatives fail within a department, bring the project to the entire company to see if their expertise can turn failure into success.
Failure isn't a mark of shame on a company. In fact, lack of failure can be a sign of a stagnant and dying business. If you're ready to start innovating and embracing failure in your company, download the Jumpstart your Inbound Marketing guide to learn how to increase your outreach using inbound marketing techniques.