“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill
Failure and success are often seen as dichotomies of one another in the context of business, that is failure is the opposite of success or vice versa. However, in recent history the business landscape particularly that of the rise of entrepreneurs has led the ground work towards embracing failure as an important constituent for future accomplishment. Many of the world’s most successful business man come from a background of both personal and professional failures, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, both of whom dropped out of colleges and have a long list of botched ventures prior to achieving the successful ventures that have established legacy’s to future generations that is respectively Microsoft and Apple. While it is easy to highlight the achievements of two such obvious “rising from the ashes” success stories we should perhaps be grounded in a little reality given that this super success is not the norm, and yet what is much more common is that failure – full stop is what most ventures experience. Failure is so prevalent particularly among entrepreneurial ventures that some research suggest that greater than 75% of new ventures fail (Blank, 2013) , with only 1 in 10 still standing 5 years on (Blank, 2013). Against this context it is perhaps important to understand how there is worth in failure, not only for the entrepreneurs, but that such value also extends to their social networks, their customers, and the economy at large.
This paper limits its scope to entrepreneurial ventures and has four main sections. First, it examines the literature relevant to failure, specifically focusing on entrepreneurial ventures to...
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...nt suggest that the risks associated with failure are far greater in this climate and as such entrepreneurs have greater hurdles to overcome when considering new ventures. This cultural context in part helps explain why “over the past quarter-century the rate at which Japan has been creating new businesses has been only one-third to half that in America” (The Economist, 2009).
The discussion above establishes that the cultural context of understanding failure is an important factor in how one may choose to define failure and what implications such failure will have for the individual. Where in the North American context failure can be seen as a step in the learning process, the Asian environment failure can be a game ender. We now move our focus to examining the potential causes of business failure, where we both the internal and external reasons for failure.
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