Ron Miller knows a little about success. He has founded, built and sold 5 successful companies as an Ernst and Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and and has been on the Inc. 5000 list 4 times. But these days Miller makes failure his business. Miller learned from his own experience that succeeding is not the most important factor in ultimate success but actually managing how you fail. Miller believes mastering failure is crucial to all leaders, whether you are managing a team inside an existing company trying to innovate or about to launch a new idea.
While much of the world is talking about how crowdfunding startups is a surefire way to increase success, Miller is banking that it is a useful way to speed up failure and fast. Now you may wonder why Miller would want to fail faster. He explains simply that investors want to reduce their risk. They do that by reducing exposure. Nothing is worse than tying up time and money in a venture that will ultimately go nowhere. When the failure process is accelerated, investors can preserve time and resources on companies that won't likely succeed. The bad companies dissolve faster and the winners prove themselves quicker.
Miller's new venture StartEngine specializes in failure acceleration for start-ups and with the full approval of the SEC.
Here are Miller's tips for turning failure into success.
1. "Approach failure with the right mindset."
Many people think failure is just plain bad. Often managers and entrepreneurs are paralyzed by fear of failure. Failure is so scary in incremental and large context - they refuse to act and innovate. Miller believes you should let go of the fear and embrace the failure. He notes, "At the end of the day, innovation and action is what creates success instead of blocking ourselves from taking risks."
2. "Own the Failure."
Ownership of failure should be celebrated by managers and entrepreneurs alike.
When you acknowledge failure, you acknowledge the need for innovation, initiative and action. There is always a new idea to take away from failure. One has to be open to looking for the benefit. "Owning failure is a critical step to being able to identify course corrections and pivots that are necessary to ultimately get a successful result," says Miller.
3. "Stay Clear on Your End Result."
Failure is hugely discouraging, but if you harp on how bad it makes you feel, you will likely lose sight of the reason you failed in the first place - to achieve something you care deeply about. Miller explains, "If you are focused on the small failures and successes, you may miss out on how those failures or successes are affecting the big picture."
4. "Get Feedback From Your Team."
Oftentimes people who fail are unable to maintain an objective perspective on why things went off the rails. They are too emotionally attached to what happened. Listening to others can help put things into perspective. Miller says, "The feedback of others, can identify more than just whether the initiative is successful or not. It can also identify the causation of failures.
5."Use Data to Find the Roots of Failure."
Miller believes using metrics is not only essential for determining success, but also identifying where failure lies. He explains, "Within each major high level metric, there may be sub metrics that must be measured to identify where in the chain of events lie the success and favors. By creating a consistent measurement system, leaders can readily identify what is successful and what is off track to allow for course correction."
6. "Keep on Trying."
Thomas Edison once stated, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Miller believes you should feel good about taking risks and daring to innovate, even if it leads to some degree of failure. Not everyone succeeds, but if you keep at it and learn, you will eventually achieve success.