Imperfection is a part of being human. We make mistakes. We make bad judgment calls. We screw up. Sometimes, we royally screw up.

There will inevitably come a time when this happens to you in your business. In fact, the magnifying glass may be a little stronger with a business simply you're not just responsible for yourself, you're also responsible for your employees.

Whether you like it or not, running a business puts you in a leadership position. This means that when you make a mistake (because it's not a matter of "if") it can either help your business or hurt your business. Here are some of the things you can do to rebound after you make a huge mistake.

Take ownership.

You may remember some time ago when the founder of Lululemon made a comment about how some women aren't the right body type for the company's attire. This was in response to a quality control issue where the company's leggings turned out to be see-through.

Rather than taking ownership of the fact that there was obviously a problem with their quality control, the founder blamed someone else. Not only did he blame other people, he blamed his very customers and managed to offend a large portion of the population in the process.

The fallout from his apparent foot-in-mouth syndrome was nothing short of disastrous. The company shares plummeted and the CEO stepped down. Twitter users had a field day tearing the company apart. The loss of sales was so bad that some news outlets were even predicting that the company would disappear by 2015.

They're obviously still around, but they've had to work double time to make up for their founder's PR disasters (this wasn't the only one). To this day, Lululemon serves as a cautionary tale of what happens when a company doesn't admit to their mistakes.


Apologies can go a long way when you screw up - if they're done sincerely and at the right time. If you make a huge mistake, apologize immediately. Don't wait it out for two years like Lululemon's founder did because by then it's way too late.

People - whether it's your customers or your employees - will respect you far more if you apologize for messing up. People understand that other people make mistakes, and they are more likely to stick around if you simply say you're sorry.

Assess the situation and move on.

I will never forget a meeting in my former boss' office a few years ago as we were reviewing sales numbers for the month. Things were not looking good for us and we knew exactly why. Some individuals had gone online and complained about the way they'd been treated by former employees.

Rather than getting all worked up about it, my boss simply said "Okay, we know what the problem is. We just have to do better from now on. Here's how..." And that's exactly what we proceeded to do.

When someone in our company makes a mistake and we get called out on it, it's very easy to get defensive and dwell on the situation. This could even lead to your own Lululemon debacle where you're tempted to blame others.

The reality is this doesn't help anyone. Actually it often times makes things much worse. Rather than getting all worked up about it, simply do what my former boss did. Take it in as data that will help you improve.

Final Thoughts

We're all eventually going to make a mistake in our professional lives. The important part is knowing what to do to rebound. By using some of these tips you can bounce back better than ever.