People tell me that I have the Midas touch, and anything I touch turns into gold. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that I’m more often wrong than right in business, but I try not to make the same mistake twice. I also make sure that I learn some valuable lessons every time.
My strength, however, is that I’m not afraid to fail. For me failure is not fatal; it is a learning experience. The risks I take are calculated. I also play to win and not to lose.
To succeed in business don’t be afraid to fail; failure is your stepping stone to success.
Let me share with you two mistakes that made me a better entrepreneur:
More than 10 years ago my family went into the Shawarma business and we opened five carts simultaneously. Sales were strong, but our bank account balance remained alarmingly low. Only then did we discover that we made a mistake in the computation of the cost of our product. We failed to account for the 30 percent shrinkage of the beef once it’s cooked.
It was a big blunder and we had to close the business down a year later.
Giant tire repair business
Giant tires used in the mining and logging industries, though relatively new, can get punctured or damaged during their operation. A friend of mine invented a breakthrough process to repair these instead of throwing them away. Together we set up a business around it. We called it The Big Foot Tire Repair Company. I provided the capital and the technology.
This was 15 years ago. The business started strong and we were making money. But after two years, we shut it down because we ran out of tires to repair and collection was a big problem.
What lessons did I learn from these two failed ventures?
1. In business, no one is right every time. I am no exception.
2. The deeper and more thorough your due diligence is before starting a business, the less likely you’ll make a mistake.
3. Avoid going into business just for the sake of impressing others.
4. Timing plays an important part in many business ventures.
5. When the time comes to shut a business down, don’t let your ego stand in the way. Just do it.
6. Strong sales is the first indicator that your business is doing well, but it’s not the only one. When your sales are low or going downhill your business is definitely heading in the wrong direction.
7. It is vital that you diligently make a monthly profit and loss statement because you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Business is simple: If it’s not making money, you cannot keep it afloat for long, much less grow it.
Here’s a quotation from the great Michael Jordan that sums up my point well: “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”
Bunny Pages is chairman and chief executive officer of The Pages Food Group. He was named as the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.