If you don’t try, you’ll never know … Such is the great unknown of embarking on any business venture, be it large or small. You can put any number of contingencies in place and research ’til the cows come home, but inherent in the birth of a new idea is the concept of risk.
And it is certainly true that absolutely nobody is immune to the prospect of failure, no matter how illustrious their career was up ’til now, or how highly regarded they may be within their industry.
A high-profile example of this would be the recent collapse of Jamie Oliver’s Australian company, as well as facing massive restructuring of his UK company, Jamie’s Italian Pty Ltd.
Yet Oliver waxes lyrical about failure, saying “If you love what you do, failure is part of moving forward”.
So, it would seem that with a steadfast determination and an iron will, it is inherently possible to realise your vision and the key to eventually achieving a goal is not to view failure as a result of one’s glaring ineptitude, but as a necessary stepping stone, or perhaps a fork in the road on the way to success.
Although it is much more easily said than done, especially when the resilience demonstrated by a global phenomenon such as Oliver is backed up by the fruits of an enormously successful career spanning a couple of decades, plus the inherent advantages of such an economy of scale.
Most everyday entrepreneurs and small business owners lack not just this single-minded determination and unfailing self-belief, but additionally the unlimited availability of funds to mop up unsuccessful start-ups and start again from scratch.
Throwing all such practicalities aside however, the philosophy does somehow strike a chord in that the lessons to be learnt from failure are vital to the eventuality of success – perhaps even to the point where any success that arises without prior failure can be put down to being more about luck than any conscious process. As Oliver says, “If I open a restaurant in Portugal and it is not relevant, it will close; if it is relevant, it will live”.
Certainly, in the restaurant game the need to be relevant is essential, and a fair amount of achieving that involves some level of theorising and downright guessing as to what a constantly shifting and fickle dining public might be into next week.
But very much so, a little insight into demographics and cultural nous, coupled with a tried, tested and tweaked business strategy goes a long way – in any business, not just hospitality.
Hmmm … but where is that crystal ball?
It pretty much comes down to, yet again, another aspect of human survival that relies mostly on instinct, having a “feel” for a time and a place and just a plain old flash of inspiration and simply going for it.
The only thing we can do is push through the fear of going down in a spectacular fashion and just getting in there and trying out something, just because it feels right.
Just goes to show you the good old caveman fight or flight is still alive and well, and everyday examples of evolution can be viewed through the lens of every failure, as well as every success.
After all, at the end of the day – failure breeds success. Positive thinking in a nutshell!