How to Overcome Failure and Become a Success

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
Updated:
July 18, 2008
Stumble It!

How Robo Basho and Non-alcoholic Wine can help you succeed

Are you looking for a sure fire way to become successful?

  • Fail More Often
  • Recover From Failure Faster
  • Learn From Your Mistakes
Research that has been done on successful individuals has shown a few points of interest. You might believe that the successful person has no problems and once they decided to do something - success just happened.

Well, it isn't like that at all. Here are some things I know about individuals that have succeeded in business. They normally have tried many things. They have some little success, but the first attempt doesn't launch them into the success stratosphere.

First 15 Things You Try - You Fail

The first 15 things they tried have failed miserably. What are some things that have helped them to succeed? After their failures they bounced back quicker than the average person. Just because they failed they never saw themselves as a failure. If they did, it was only for a short time. They picked themselves up and tried again.

Dr. Joe and Robo Basho

I have a couple of family members who are on the verge of success or might already be considered successful. Dr. Joe Johnson of Robotic Amusements has created an amusement game where his robots play king of the hill. The name of the game is Robo Basho.

Two to three robots stand atop a platform and try to push each other off the platform. It looks very much like the Japanese sport of Sumo Wrestling. The game is quick as the robots push each other and try to lift each other off the platform. The robot left standing is the winner.

If you see the game and play the game you would say Joe is a genius. He is and he has a number of patents to his name to prove it. But, the game and his business to promote the game was never an easy rise to the top. In fact if you ask Joe, he will tell you he still isn't a success.

Basement Engineers Fail Too

Joe started his business part time in his basement. He is an engineer by profession so he knew how to design and architect the robots. He uses patented techniques to have the robots talk to each other and the master computer. But, still it hasn't been easy.

Joe hired programmers still in college to do the programming for the computer to understand where the robots are on the floor and their current status. The student programmers would come into his basement each morning and Joe would give them tasks to complete. Then Joe would go to work at his full time job. When Joe would get home each night the tasks weren't completed and the programming was horrible.

It turns out, some of the programmers would sleep instead of churning out code for the robots. So the coding isn't happening and Joe is having trouble putting the robots together and getting them to do what he wants them to do.

After a couple of months he gets these problems worked out and gets a more stable set of programmers. He is making great progress and thinks if he goes full time he can complete it all within a month or two and get it sold at an upcoming Amusements convention.

Leaves a Full Time Job

He has a talk with his family about the consequences of him leaving his full time job. Can the family accept living at a reduced income for a few months? He has a daughter only one year away from going to college. How will this affect her?

Joe takes the plunge and begins full time in his business. Two months later the robots aren't fully functional, arms are falling off, robots are getting confused on the floor and he is having major problems getting the battery packs to work for more than a few minutes.

After many late nights and moments of anguish, Joe is able to get a working model available in time for the convention. It isn't perfect and requires a lot of hand holding. But, all the issues appear to be minor inconveniences instead of show stoppers.

There is a lot of interest in the product at the convention. Many "amusement companies" find the product interesting and promising. But, they all see the amount of hand holding and tinkering that still occurs. They have seen this pattern before and know that a finished product needs to be made that is stable before they put money into the project.

Joe's Money Runs Out

After a couple of more months, Joe's money begins to run out and requires Joe to go out and get a job again. The product has some success in a test market in Chicago. But, it still will fail at times. The robots need some more tinkering.

Do you think you are smart? Do you have persistence and fortitude? That's what it takes when you have failures. You have to be strong mentally and emotionally. Because failure will occur. It will occur often and cause bruising and scarring. You need a strong family behind you that can accept you when you experience problems.

You have to be smart enough to know when to step back from the project or to make an all out push to make it happen.

Bottling Non-Alcoholic Wine

The other story I have is about a nephew by marriage, Pat Galvin. For years he was talking about bottling non-alcoholic wine. That sounds simple enough. Get some water, add some flavoring, squeeze a few grapes, put it in bottles, slap a label on the bottles and ship it to stores.

Trust me my friend when I say that real business isn't that easy. What do you do when the labels fall off? You don't have money to bottle the product and ship. You don't have money for a sales force. You don't have any stores to ship it to. You don't have a warehouse. What would you do?

What Kind of Problems Can You Have?

My nephew buckled up and worked hard. He made sales calls on stores in niche markets that he thought would have a customer base that would be interested in the product. Some of the stores liked the product and were able to sell some bottles. Then they wanted more.

Well he didn't have any more. His first run was just a sample run. Now he needed to order a full run and he didn't really have the money to order a full run under his terms.

He finally worked out a way to make it all happen. He spent the night at the wine making factory to make sure everything was going okay. He began delivering bottles out of the back of his car. A chef over at the Google campus got a taste of the product and bought some for Google employees.

Bottle Caps Explode

Sales increased little by little. But, there are still problems. Some of the bottle caps blew off. What is going on? How do you make a successful business when things keep exploding all around you? The worst thing you want is to read about problems on the internet instead of finding out the problems in the factory. Pat solved the bottle cap issues and more.

Well, Pat and Joe's businesses still need work. Pat probably has more revenue coming in than Joe at this point. Pat has a little venture capital money to help out with the over head. Pat is selling to the Google campus, Whole Foods and you can even get some product on-line. Joe is still tweaking the robots and trying to get a bite from a manufacturer or gaming industry company.

Success Doesn't Just Happen

Business isn't easy. Success doesn't just happen. It takes time, effort and the ability to overcome failure. Do you have what it takes? How often have you failed? Have you learned from your mistakes? How many failures will it take you before you make it big? If you quit now, were you only one failure away from success?

We are all emotionally wounded when we fail. You might react by throwing something against a wall when you fail. Maybe, you go out drinking. Do what you have to do to get the emotional pain released from your system. (Within reason of course. No need to cause others pain because of your failure.) But, get through the stages of overcoming failure quickly. These are similar to the stages of death, maybe not as intense.

You Have 3 Great Ideas a Year

Once you recover get back in the Entrepreneur saddle. Find something else you can get excited about and bring to the marketplace. I heard from Brian Tracy one time that the average person has a minimum of 3 great ideas every year that can make them rich. What is your great idea?

A quick summary. To become successful you need to realize that failure is not final. You can overcome any obstacle if you put your mind and resources on the issue. If you do fail, then accept that many of the great business persons in the world have failed many times. They picked themselves up from failure. Dusted off the mistakes. Then found a new niche, a new idea or even a new way to market an old product. If anyone else can do it, then so can you. Get going today on your next big dream.


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