Owners use failure as opportunity to learn

vbridges@newsobserver.comAugust 26, 2013 

Some small-business owners are disappointed with failure; others are inspired by it. Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners how they view failure and what role it plays in their business.

“In business, nothing is a total failure. Each ruined project is a potential opportunity to look for the parts that did work and determine how to rework them again to make them more fulfilling for your business, your customers and your staff,” said Cynthia Deis, owner of Ornamentea, a bead and fine craft supply retailer in Raleigh. “Focusing on any successes, and offering praise and joy for them, will let you use the failures as lessons.”

“In the concert business, most view their success or failure entirely by the number of people that attended their performance,” said Adam Lindstaedt, owner and talent buyer for The Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh. “However, if you only focus on the fact that the show was a bust, it blinds you from the copious amount of learning opportunities that surround every failed show. Staying objective is so important, because what I may view as a failure, someone (who attended) the show may see it as the best night of their life.”

“Failure is the opportunity to learn more about the process. … The insight gained…makes you stronger in your troubleshooting and foresight on the next project,” said Ann Black, president and CEO of ImmunoReagents, a Raleigh manufacturing facility specializing in reagents used in life science research and diagnostics markets in the U.S. and internationally. “Always be honest with the customer and especially yourself about why the failure occurred and how you will plan to avoid (it) in the future.

“If something doesn’t work out, you just have to pick up the pieces and figure out something that does work. In the remodeling business, there is always a chance that something will not go exactly as planned. Your client is relying on you to quickly find solutions to issues that come up and keep the project moving forward,” said Jean Ehmke, owner and designer a JeanE Kitchen and Bath Design, a full-service kitchen and bath design company in Raleigh.

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