Blog post by: Ashley Sledge, Baer Performance Marketing Intern
The well-known phrase “high risk, high reward” could not be a more apt description of what it’s like to try and run a small business today. The national economy has proven to be extremely unstable in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and entrepreneurs of all stripes face increased competition for consumers’ stretched dollars.
History is replete with success stories of those who saw an opportunity, faced the ample risks of branching out on their own, and made their mark on the business world. While no two paths to success are identical, their experiences could be invaluable to the next up-and-comer. Will it be you?
Author and Entrepreneur
In a Ted Talk, Anne Koark says “successful people learn from others’ mistakes.” Throughout her talk, she shares valuable lessons about the different failures she’s faced throughout her life. Many believe you learn more from personal mistakes, because the experience sticks with you. However, observing how others have failed, and not repeating their error, can be just as beneficial to a burgeoning business. For many people, it’s difficult to be frank about what you’ve done wrong, but selfless transparency can build up confidence in others and motivate them to keep trying. Learning from others not only prevents us from making the same mistakes, but can sharpen our decision-making in the future.
Founder, CEO, and President of the Multinational Technology Company Amazon
Jeff Bezos, inarguably one of the most successful and widely-known entrepreneurs of modern times, believes “the customer is the one that truly matters.” The remarkable advent of Amazon stands as proof that if a business can drill down and determine the essence of what a customer needs, then true business competition is over, and success is merely a matter of time.
Engineer, Industrial Designer, Technology Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
One of the most important lessons in the business world, and life in general, is that failure can be a catalyst to better outcomes if treated as a teaching moment. Elon Musk is a prime example of someone who’s had his fair share of failures but refused to back down. Years ago, he applied for, but was denied, a job at Netscape, his first PayPal product was voted one of the 10 worst business ideas of 1999, and his first-ever SpaceX rocket launch ended in an embarrassing explosion. Taken individually, all of these examples meet the definition of failure, but when used as stepping stones of experience, they become the bedrock of something better. Elon Musk went on to create some of the world’s most notable products and brands, including Tesla, which is currently worth more than $12 billion.
These are just a few examples showing the value of persistence over failure. Either directly or indirectly, Koark, Bezos and Musk show the next generation of entrepreneurs what it takes to make it in a business career. Not everyone is poised to launch the next Amazon or SpaceX, but those who learn from failure, both personal and observed, are better served to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be.
Brown, Damon. “Why Elon Musk Failures should give confidence and hope”. Icons and
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Zambas, Joanna. “11 Important Business from Successful Entrepreneurs”. CareerAddict.
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“The State of Small business Marketing in 2019”. Campaign Monitor. Retrieved from