“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
Just like in life, business mistakes are inevitable — and even the best of us make them at some point. The key is to learn a lesson, implement that knowledge and avoid making the same mistakes again. With the right mindset and approach, you can turn business bloopers into benefits.
View Mistakes as a Learning Opportunity
First of all, it’s important to look at mistakes as a way to fuel growth and progress — not merely as a hindrance. It’s been well documented that some of the world’s brightest minds, such as Thomas Edison, Bill Gates and Dave Ramsey, have made countless mistakes and experienced failure continuously before having their breakthrough moment.
Some people like Colonel Harlan Sanders have even been deemed as serial-failures, making mistake after mistake. However, they remained undeterred and kept pressing on until they eventually reached their goals.
For some business owners, their first instinct is to deny that they’ve made a mistake, and they are unwilling to admit that something just didn’t work out. This is a maladaptive response because it means that you’re more likely to repeat your mistakes, and there’s no real growth going on.
A better response would be to own it and take responsibility. Embracing business bloopers in this manner puts you in a position to work through things and benefit from them in the long run.
Identify the Root Cause
When you break it all down, a mistake can usually be traced back to a root cause. By identifying what specifically went wrong, you can gain a deeper perspective and determine what a better approach would be in the future.
Maybe it was a single decision that was ill-advised. Maybe it was due to a lack of planning and preparation. Or maybe the problem simply lies in your business’s execution. Whatever the case may be, identifying the root cause is necessary for turning a negative into a positive.
As humans, we are inherently biased about many things — and it’s not always easy to analyze our mistakes objectively. But it’s important that you’re able to see the big picture in order to find a solution and ensure that you don’t get caught up in a vicious cycle of repeating your mistakes. Perhaps the best way to gain objectivity is to simply view the situation as a third-party business owner or competitor would.
Learn from Your Mistakes
The final and most essential part of this process is to thoroughly examine the situation and come away with some key lessons that you can apply in the future. Whether a mistake was due to poor judgment, impulsive decision-making, blatant carelessness or another factor, genuinely learning from it should have immense benefits for your company — and you can operate with less friction in the future.
The bottom line is that no one is perfect, and you’re going to make business bloopers along the way. But as long as you learn from them and apply that knowledge, you can turn your mistakes into benefits — and they can end up having a positive impact on your company.