Okay, so maybe it’s not actually the greatest thing for your startup, but being wrong from time to time can teach important lessons that lead entrepreneurs in new and surprising directions.
Just ask one of our favorite entrepreneurs and “TED talkers,” Derek Sivers. The founder and former CEO of CD Baby, an online store for independent musicians, Sivers is currently spending his time working on new projects and writing blogs and articles.
In a recent blog post, Sivers recounts a time in his life when he didn’t feel so smart, successful, and on top of it all. Mired in self-doubt and feeling like everything was going wrong, he reached out to a few close friends who provided some advice and support. His perspective soon turned around, after which Sivers came to three important conclusions:
Being wrong shakes his confidence, but it’s the only time he learns.
Although fearful, feeling lost is when he goes somewhere unexpected.
Getting knocked down makes him very humble.
Sivers now understands that although it feels uncomfortable, being wrong provides a powerful learning experience that fuels his personal and professional growth.
Turning Defeat into Victory
When Butler went on Shark Tank, the popular TV show where high-powered investors hear pitches from budding entrepreneurs, the outcome was not what she expected. Instead of showing interest in her idea, the sharks actively mocked her business on national TV. Humiliated but not deterred, Butler determined to transform rejection into redemption.
As Butler reflected on her Shark Tank experience, she came away with several strategies for improving her business.
Focus the message. Without actually saying it, the sharks let Butler know that her marketing message was scattered and too broad.
Accept that not everyone will understand the vision. The key is that she understands and believes in it.
You are not your work. When people criticize your business, don’t take it personally because it doesn’t devalue you as a person.
Own the moment. Rather than hiding from her humiliating experience on Shark Tank, Butler turned it to her advantage by sharing the video on social media and posting a reaction video on the company’s website.
You can bounce back stronger than ever. Although Butler didn’t get a deal from the show, her website got 30,000 hits the night the episode aired. Plus, her products were picked up by retailers like Nasty Gal and Friends Beauty.
Ultimately, the Shark Tank experience turned out to be a real win for Butler, helping to generate a positive buzz and increased sales for Lip Bar. So the next time you’re wrong, take it as a learning experience rather than a defeat, and a chance to move in a new and better direction.
If you’re unsure about which direction to go in, log on to Ideator and share your experience of being wrong. You’ll receive a lot of feedback and support, and may help others who have gone through a similar experience.