Failure is inevitable no matter how much effort you invest in your company, but the way you recover can set you up for your next great success.
Maybe your new product didn't go over well. Maybe you launched a new website with terrible user experience. Maybe you made a questionable social media post and your followers have started to question you.
As an entrepreneur, I've experienced my share of failures, and I'm guessing you have too. If you haven't failed yet, you must be just starting out. Otherwise, you aren't taking any risks. Failure is -- and should be -- a natural part of business ownership. What truly matters is how you recover from that failure, and there are five steps to doing that properly:
Step 1: Accept the Failure. The first step is sometimes the hardest. Admitting you've failed is difficult even for the most mature, experienced entrepreneurs. True, you should never give up on something you truly believe in. But if you're going to keep moving forward, at some point you have to acknowledge the walls that are blocking you.
Step 2: Reflect on the Root Cause. There isn't always a single identifiable root cause, but do what you can to sort out the reasons for the failure. Sometimes these are internal, sometimes these are external and sometimes they're completely random. But you have to understand them if you're going to learn anything.
Step 3: Take Responsibility. Even if the failure wasn't your fault, you have to take responsibility. It is now your job to make sure this doesn't happen again. Brainstorm with your team, hold discussions, and be open -- but take ownership of the failure and drive a new change.
Step 4: Implement New Processes. Something needs to change so this doesn't happen again. Hire someone, discipline someone, correct a procedure, institute a new checkpoint, find a different vendor -- possible solutions are practically infinite. Take time to find the right one for your business.
Step 5: Set a New Goal. Finally, you need to set your sights on the horizon. Establish a new goal to keep your new vision in line.
If you can recover and start paving a path toward the next phase of your business, no failure can ever interfere with your long-term success.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.
Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.