The failure of entrepreneurship in real life is so commonplace that business schools should prepare you for it.
It is said that the being-entrepreneur is brought in the blood but paradoxically it is also thought that any person can be. Or at least that is how they taught us from business schools and from the impulse in recent years to incorporate into the school curricula the need to undertake. Now it is common that from high school, students have a subject called Entrepreneurial Project or Business Development in which they must generate a Business Plan, with its mission , its values , its business model , its projections and other things.
Thus, having a business plan you can begin to feel entrepreneurial because, at least, you have a structure of work and a concrete idea of how it could be a reality. However, the problem of business schools, mostly is that in its entirety, is that they continue to treat entrepreneurship as a series of theoretical tools for efficiency and success and not as a set of practical guides for the difficulties own of the real world. And for the same, it is up to the third or fourth entrepreneurship that the entrepreneur has knowledge of what to do, what not to do, how to move forward and to know what one fails. This is an implicit middle rule of the famous Silicon Valley , in which the failure of 4 or 5 previous projectsIt is the standard for every entrepreneur who finally gets a winning project , which will be after much effort subject to be funded by Investment Funds and Venture Capital.
And it is precisely this condition that makes what they teach in the Business Schools often falls short, especially when the recently graduated -famous entrepreneur- faces real life. At school, failure is not taught, but because of this, you do not learn what to do when you have a setback.
The failure of entrepreneurship in real life is so commonplace that business schools should prepare you for it. However, as this is not the case, it must be the same experience and time that generates this knowledge. Of course, after many sorrows and suffering.
Over time, the experience generates three tools that even the best business school or book can not teach:
- Resilience to failure
How easy it would be if we could learn these three tools when watching a Youtube video , reading a business book for Dummies or attending the entrepreneurship Masterclass of some incubator! But since this is not possible, we will have to make our own mistakes so that the experience will do its job.
After failing in the first venture or in the second, the experience teaches the entrepreneur, in his own flesh, one of the most important lessons he will ever learn: sales are the queens of the company and everything else comes out. That the most important thing is to sell does not mean that the social impact, the quality of the product, the attention to the client do not have an important weight. However, spending precious time writing mission, values, vision and other trivia instead of selling is really tragic. And more sad to know that this lesson is not as common as one would think when one is taught to undertake.
In contrast, the first steps of any manual to start a company is to detail what is the mission and values of the company. And how depressing it is to read missions and visions full of words like “We are a group of professionals who will offer the highest quality …”! Even worse is to warn the public that the values of the company will be “… with honesty and work ethic …”.
It’s sad because, as a rule, talking is much easier than acting, and you can talk very easily about “quality”, “commitment” and all kinds of values within your mission, but when your work really shows it, You will not even have to say it because your quality, your honesty or your professionalism will be evident.
Wordiness does a lot of damage to projects when the entrepreneur spends time in it instead of generating sales, differentiators and value attributes, customer networks, etc. And the biggest problem of all this is that the only way to realize how much this talk is irrelevant is with experience – with the fall of two or three companies in which time was devoted to it. The sense of smell that is generated through experience teaches the entrepreneur that the most important thing of a company is not “to be a reference” or “to be a leader in the industry” or “reach the whole world in 5 years” but to sell, sell and sell . Companies that do not sell, close yes or yes. The companies that sell can go astray but will always have time to adjust and improve. Therefore, the first rule of entrepreneurship must be to sell. Then everything else comes. Learn to sell! Be traditional products, be innovative products, be social impact, befair trade or whatever you want.
“If you show us this before making business plans and sales projections, it may not be necessary to close 3 or 4 companies before having a successful one.” quotes from Musikji
2. Resilience to failure: learn and follow
It is said in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that academic curricula in business schools should include a subject to be able to accept failure as a way of life when one wants to be an entrepreneur. Why? Because it is very difficult, indeed almost impossible, for the project to come out perfectly at the first time. On the other hand, what any enterprise has for sure is stumbling, falling and needing to get up again.
It is argued that in societies where the failure of a project is seen as negatively as it can be in Latin American societies (compared to the acceptance of failure as a way of life prevailing in ecosystems such as Silicon Valley), it is more difficult to create ventures for the same social fear of seeing less. It is similar to saying that the only way to remove the fear of falls is to get back on the horse, which has a somewhat simplistic but at the same time very useful learning: on the one hand, it tells us that one gets used to it to pain, to bruises and scrapes and at the same time, one learns that real pain is not as strong as fear was. With so much fall and failure, callo comes out and makes us stronger. Each fall makes us learn to adapt and, therefore, to be more resilient.
That life makes us more cynical, is undoubted. Maybe that’s why we see fewer dreamers full of ideals of advanced age. However, also because of that cynicism we are able, by adding years to our portfolio, to find shortcuts to reach our goals faster. Cynicism here works as a tool that takes us to the purely practical field, far from the theoretical, with which you can avoid some headaches. Cynicism does not mean a kind of skepticism or a kind of contempt but an implicit disbelief that makes us take many more direct paths.
Do not forget that cynicism is useful for the entrepreneur to be a product of experience but no longer useful if this is a product of the attitude of the entrepreneur. That a young person is cynical exactly breaks with the enterprising spirit of the dreamer that breaks barriers and overcomes obstacles. The cynic by attitude , surely, will not even start his project. The entrepreneur who acquires a bit of cynicism with age, will be able to find shortcuts with partners, avoid difficult customers, reduce meeting times without a future, etc.