Business 20 leaders share the lessons they learned by embracing...

20 leaders share the lessons they learned by embracing the value of failure


Failure is often seen as an obstacle on the road to success. Yet it can also serve as an influential teacher, offering valuable lessons and paving the way for professional and personal growth.

Valuable insights can be gained from failure through introspection and resilience, shaping one’s perspective and approach to future endeavours. Below, 20 Business Council members share moments when they failed and the lessons they learned from those experiences that later led them to success.

1. Learn the importance of balance

One failure I experienced was an overemphasis on a single customer and employee. I learned the importance of balance and not being dependent on one person or customer. Challenges embraced as opportunities. – Hard Patel, Water and shark

2. Consider how your decisions affect others

I bombed my first job interview when I got out of the military. I focused too much on my technical skills and forgot to mention people. It is important to consider how your decisions and leadership style affect people. I keep this in mind now. My interviews improved dramatically when I was able to communicate this better, and I now consider team building one of my superpowers. – Kandy Porter, Effective power connections Business Council is the premier growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

3. Keep trying for success

I always say that I paid a fortune for my education because my failures have been costly. The most important thing I learned is that you should always keep trying. Success is not easy, so never give up on your dreams. Your failures are all learning experiences. Don’t waste them. – Charlie Tuzzi, Copland Cleaners & Winzer Cleaners cameo

4. Trust, but verify

Early in my SEO consulting career, I was hired by NY Daily News. I recommended a technical change that caused them to lose a large amount of Google traffic. Luckily we were able to reverse it quickly so it was only a disaster for 48 hours. That made it clear that our customers expect us to always look over their shoulders to make sure they are implementing things correctly and the importance of trusting but verifying. – Andrew Scotland, Local SEO guide

5. Listen to your gut feelings

It’s important to listen to your gut! I joined a well-funded cybersecurity startup as CEO. The founder said they’d let me run it, but as soon as we got a grip, they wanted to be CEO. It was a job they weren’t cut out for, but deep down I knew their egos would prevail. I now consider that experience a great step as it exposed me to technology and knowledge that have contributed to our current success. – Tara Milburn, Ethical swag

6. Set realistic goals for yourself and others

Failure and even success do not come from the outside. I realized this when I set unrealistic goals for a new and inexperienced team. When they couldn’t hit those numbers, I felt like a failure and was surrounded by a lot of negative thoughts. The next time I lowered the numbers and when they exceeded my expectation I felt overwhelmed and experienced great positive energy. – Raj Madula, Global squirrels

7. Put yourself first

When I started my first business, I grew and scaled very quickly. While I experienced great success, I also experienced huge failure in neglecting my health. I overworked myself and didn’t know when to stop for the day. I had severe burnout that forced me to reevaluate my time and priorities. The most important lesson I learned was: if you’re not first, you’re last. – Lacey Abbachchi, Lacey Abbachchi

8. Delegate correctly

I failed to properly delegate several times. i speak fast; that’s why sometimes it’s hard to understand me. Once when I delegated a project to a manager and they got it wrong, I blamed myself for not delegating properly. After this happened, I read the three best books on delegation I could find and made a cheat sheet of best practices and what needed to be done to properly delegate. – Pedro Barboglio, Remote team solutions

9. Expand in preparation for growth

In recent times, our company has experienced explosive growth, which meant that all hands on deck and overtime were worked. Looking back at this crazy period, I am very happy that we were able to meet the needs of our customers with limited resources. However, we have learned that we need to expand the team in preparation for future growth and the transition to a better project management tool to further improve efficiency. – Maurice Harry, The prayer lab

10. Clarify roles early

I teamed up with someone I thought I could work with, but their efforts didn’t match mine. I took charge because my partner seemed to be taking on a more passive role. The stark contrast in their level of contribution and commitment, as they happily enjoyed the rewards without matching my efforts, led to an increasing sense of frustration and imbalance. This experience taught me to clarify roles early on to avoid future problems. – Yasmin Walter, KMD Books

11. Prioritize customer feedback in research

Once I failed when I launched a new product that didn’t meet customer expectations. I learned the importance of market research and customer feedback in product development. It taught me to listen to customer needs, iterate quickly and prioritize continuous improvement to deliver value and exceed expectations. – Henri Al Helaly, Skytex Aero

12. Understand that not everyone will see your failures

Success is like an iceberg. The top 10% is the only part people see, the success. They don’t realize that we probably fail 90% of the time when it gets buried underwater. I have launched dozens of companies and have been lucky enough to see more than one become successful. Keep working hard, but move on when your gut tells you it’s time. – Matthew Gallagher, Look gang

13. Find out what information is important to share

Our company ships bare root plants that are dormant with no flowers, leaves or greenery. When we first started online 21 years ago, we failed to make it clear to our customers that our products were not finished products as they would expect from a retailer. We have learned from that mistake and we are now focusing on better informing our customers that we are a nursery and not a retailer. – Tammy sons, Tn Nursery

14. Grow at the right pace

Watch out for growing too fast! I was young and it was impressive to expand to different states at a rapid pace. It sounded cool to say, “We’re in seven to eight states,” but I didn’t have the manpower. I’ve closed and scaled back locations and business has doubled every year. – Todd price, Perimeter roofing

15. Make customizable plans

All the examples I can think of boil down to the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Any time planning falls short, the risk of failure is much higher. This has instilled in me a strong desire to ensure that the planning is robust and adaptable to any situation that may arise. – Ty Allen, SocialClimb

16. Have the courage to face failure

If you don’t fail often, you probably aren’t trying hard enough. Growth and success come from the courage to face failure or the fear of even possibly failing. I’ve learned to see things that go wrong not as a failure, but as an opportunity to learn and progress. The faster you deal with the blows, the faster you get to the wins. – Marianne Evans, Raise BC Ltd

17. Focus on needs instead of sales

When I first started I was a below par presenter. I placed a great emphasis on providing large amounts of information. After a small success, I learned that the wants and needs of the potential customer were much more important than what I was selling. Going forward, I always start by asking what is important to the customer and what his needs are. – Stephen Nalley, Black Briar Advisors

18. Consider failure part of your job

As an entrepreneur, I believe that it is part of my job to fail regularly. It could be launching a service that isn’t quite ready or designing a process that doesn’t deliver efficiency. In 2022, I had quite a few failures, all in the space of bad hires that weren’t what the company needed. I was hiring for pain instead of hiring for the strategic growth mindset we needed. – James Taets, Keystone Group International

19. Invest time in evaluating cultural appropriateness

Once, I failed when I hastily hired team members without evaluating their cultural fit. It taught me the importance of taking the time to review candidates and make sure they align with our company values. Investing in thorough evaluation fosters a stronger team in which growth and vision can be shared. – Paul Stepanov, Virtudesk

20. Trust that everything happens for a reason

It’s easy for an entrepreneur to feel like a failure, and it happens very often when things don’t go according to plan. I recently felt like a failure when an offer to a VP of customer success changed his mind and rejected our offer after initially verbally accepting it. The lesson here is to trust that things happen for a reason and that there is a better person out there for the part. – Rachel Gomes, bar

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Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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