4 ways to learn from failure

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A round-up of advice from experts who understand failure.

  • Understand every step of the investment process.
  • Keep your eye on the finish line and learn from your mistakes.
  • Double down on networking and funding.

Tips and guidance from recent content created by Eagle Labs, with links to the original articles and videos if you want to learn more.

Learn the investment process

Gaining investment and knowing at what stage to take money on is key for a founder but so is understanding the investment process. Even if you are not ready or don’t need investment, go and see investors to learn how they see the business performing and whether it is structurally sound. This is especially vital if at some stage you plan on selling the company.

Watch this interview with Darren Fell, founder and CEO of Crunch, on the many lessons he learned from early failures in founding two startups, from diving headfirst into launching a business in an industry he knew little about and how he coped with burning out.

Move forward and learn from your mistakes

When you encounter failure, ask yourself: how can I learn from a mistake and not do it again? Being able to think through the rationality of a mistake and then move forward with an amended vision is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Professor Adrian Furnham of the Norwegian Business School explains how startup founders can understand and master failure.

Prepare for the worst

Startups can hit tough times and it’s important that legal agreements with partners and investors are clear about responsibilities and obligations. Don't expect problems to come one at a time, and don't underestimate costs, especially of software development. Above all, accept that failures will happen and develop the skills to reflect on your experience and understand what went wrong.

Dan Kelsall created a recruitment tech startup that filled a gap in the market – yet the business failed. In this video Dan shares the lessons he learned the hard way.

Research and networking are key to funding success

Avoid failed funding pitches by doing your homework and approaching angels and VCs who have a clear interest in your sector. Improve your odds of finding the right investor and understanding what they are looking for by extensive networking. And remember that while investors can be crucial it is the customer that will make or break your company, so they should always be at the front of any founder's mind.

Experienced VC and angel investor Tara Sabre Collier gives more guidance on securing funding in this Q&A.

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