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4 tips for turning business mistakes into growth opportunities

3-minute read

Sometimes it's not our successes that make us better business owners, but our failures. Being willing to lean into setbacks, learn from mistakes and identify opportunities in the face of adversity can be essential for growth. Here’s how to turn mistakes into opportunities to help your business reach its full potential.

Key take-outs
  • When encountering a setback, try to stay logical and clear-headed.
  • Analyse your mistake honestly and objectively.
  • Tweak your strategy and goals based on your learnings.

1. Rule with the head, not the heart

After spending a lot of time and energy turning your business vision into a reality, experiencing setbacks can be devastating. It’s only natural to have an emotional response to these things, especially if you’re a first-time business owner.

But letting our emotions rule can quickly lead to panic, which is not helpful in the short or long term, says keynote speaker, consultant and founder of Own Journey Chyloe Kurdas.

Instead, Chyloe recommends trying to stay logical when navigating your way through emotional uncertainty, which will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel sooner.

2. Develop an opportunity mindset

It may sound like a cliché, but much of your business success is driven by your mindset and approach to challenges. Once you’ve weathered the initial fallout of a mistake, it’s tempting to just try and bury it.

However, it can be worthwhile reframing the situation and taking it as an opportunity for improvement. Ask yourself: What can I do to turn this negative into a positive? How can I use this moment to make my business better?

By changing the way you think of a negative experience, you allow yourself to look at it from a new perspective, which can help you you uncover opportunities you may not have thought of before.

3. Treat it as a learning curve

When it comes to running a business, the more you know the better. And there’s perhaps no better way to gain knowledge than by trial and error.

However, to genuinely learn from the situation, be as honest and objective as possible when analysing your error. It can help to ask these questions:

  • What was I trying to achieve?
  • What went wrong?
  • When did it go wrong?
  • Why did it go wrong?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • How can I improve my approach in the future?

Pinpointing the causes of a mistake can help you identify ways to improve and, ultimately, turn past failures into future successes.

For example, you may identify issues with cash flow as one of the reasons behind a setback. You could then look at lending options like an overdraft or an unsecured loan to help cover any cash gaps in the future.

4. Refine your goals and strategy.

Next, it’s time to turn your insights into actions. So, think about how you can fine-tune your approach to incorporate those lessons, then adjust your goals accordingly. This could be as small as optimising a particular product or service, or as big as reshuffling your operations.

When encountering setbacks in your business, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Remember that failures are never just that, but are all part of your personal journey to finding business success.

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Things you should know

All statements in this article are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views or position of Westpac. The information provided in the article are general statements and for guidance only. This article has not been prepared with your situation in mind, and your individual situation may differ. Westpac’s products are subject to terms and conditions, fees and charges and certain criteria may apply. Full details are available on request.