By Eugene Gold, relentlesspreneur, mentor and speaker
As an entrepreneur, failure is inevitable. You will fail, repeatedly, every single day. That certainly doesn’t mean that all failures are of equal significance. Many people don’t even notice the little everyday failures that come with being a leader, let alone dedicate energy to analyzing them.
For example, when a sales call ends in denial, most business owners simply proceed to the next call. After all, the only thing one stands to lose from such a seemingly inconsequential failure is time.
Unfortunately, those who don’t analyze these little failures have forgotten the old adage, “time is money.” These small, common, failures combine into devastating costs.
When you begin to recognize how valuable your time is and the importance of combatting seemingly minor failures, you can find the path to success more quickly.
The Value of Time
We often like to pretend we have an unlimited supply of time, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. You only have so much time to spend pursuing success. Every minute spent failing is a minute not spent succeeding.
The key to finding the value of your time lies in finding the difference between what you gained from failure and what you would have gained had you succeeded. For example, suppose a thirty-minute sales pitch wins over potential clients and your business earns $1,000. Whenever your sales pitch is rejected, you have lost more than just thirty minutes of your time. You’ve also lost the opportunity to earn that extra $1,000.
By viewing time as an opportunity and examining what you could have gained if your time had been better spent, you can appreciate the true gravity of seemingly little failures. I find that that's the key to becoming motivated to chase success in every entrepreneurial endeavor.
Why It Matters
When a huge failure directly costs you thousands of dollars, it’s hard not to think about it and do everything possible to avoid it in the future. For example, cyber breaches can cost companies thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and more and more business leaders are recognizing the importance of prioritizing cybersecurity.
Of course, avoiding unusually devastating losses is a good thing. However, being successful requires minimizing even the most minor failures. It’s difficult to find the motivation to do that if you don’t recognize how damaging they are.
That’s why it’s so important to see time as money. When you fail to secure a sale, you may decide to tell yourself that you only lost thirty minutes of your time. That doesn’t sound too bad, so you may not feel any pressing need to stop such an inconvenience from happening again.
When you recognize that you sacrificed not only thirty minutes, but also all the money that you could’ve made had you won, you begin to see the damage of each loss.
What to Do About It
When you recognize the value of time, you are able to see just how damaging these tiny inefficiencies can be. You won’t be able to simply brush them off anymore. Instead, accurately assess the damage they cause and devote the proper resources to stopping them.
In the case of the sales call example, you may realize that the lead you were selling wasn't qualified, so you'll devote more resources to qualifying leads in the future to increase the chances of successfully closing the deal with every person you get on the phone.
Knowing the value of your time naturally leads to the desire to protect it. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never fail again. Failure is a necessary part of success, but it’s only useful if you analyze it and learn from it.
Wasting time is never harmless. A successful entrepreneur needs to recognize the value of their time and always spend it on the opportunities that offer the best returns. When you repeatedly waste your time on avoidable failures, you throw away your most important resource.
Failure is inevitable. It’s impossible to completely dedicate one’s time to ideas that lead to success. However, knowing that time is money, you can ensure that you never make the same mistake twice. As a result, you’ll have more time, and money, to spend achieving success.
Eugene Gold, the relentlesspreneur, mentor and speaker whose companies were listed on INC. 5000 and Entrepreneur360.