With Jupiter in retrograde, now is the time to start working on your startup … but let’s face it: You will fail.
Unfortunately, failure is a natural outcome of startup ventures and has nothing to do with the position of jupiter. There are, of course, some common failures to be aware of. Two of the most likely failures will be the “all talk and no action” syndrome — simply put, many entrepreneurs will set themselves up for failure simply because they aren’t executing. Another common defeat will be team failure — and you will most likely hate your co founder within the next 12 months. In fact, if you’re a VC-backed firm, there’s a 65% chance of this happening, according to Naom Wasserman. The real question is, how will you handle these failures? Success is intentional; it is defined by reaching your own goals.
Embrace Your Irrationality
Also keep in mind that success is relative. If someone can perform better than you, you’ve failed against their goal — and this is why you can logically never avoid failure. As former Harvard Business School professor and earliest Venture Capitalist George Doriot used to say, “Someone, somewhere, is making a product that will make your product obsolete.” Therefore, you have to set new goals for your startup, or you can guarantee failure for yourself.
Pr. Herbert A. Simon (the Nobel Prize recipient for Economics in 1978) introduced the notion of Bounded Rationality. Roughly, this concept asserts that even if you perform at the peak of your ability to avoid failure, you still will not have one or more of the following necessities: Time, brain capacity/capability, or information. The only factor you can control is information, and you can extend your horizon for success by obtaining better information. You will always have to make new decisions, even if they conflict with former ones. The more information you have, the better off you will be. This a large part of what we refer to as experience.
As a society, we are beginning to champion and support the creation of more capable entrepreneurs with better training and programs such as meetups, Startup Weekends, accelerators, and other local efforts around the world. In many ways, we will be more responsible for failure in volume, even as we work to increase the capability of entrepreneurs through process, methodology, and by sharing valuable knowledge (such as research papers).
Avoid the Entrepreneurial Blues
Failure is a natural byproduct of entrepreneurship, and the only way to avoid failure is to do nothing. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that failure have terrible side effects. Just as failure is a byproduct of entrepreneurship, depression is a byproduct of failure — and it’s a common battle among entrepreneurs. Never overestimate yourself; if you feel like you can’t take a break, share your bargain with friends and more senior entrepreneurs they might have experience something close to your current challenge, and share with you how they handled it. Remind yourself of the normalcy of failure and be prepared for failure before it happens. Never overestimate your limits — we all have them. As Winston Churchill, a man who experienced many profound failures, pointed out, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”