Failure is a part of life, and maybe even a bigger part of business. If fear of failure is holding you back, take inspiration from the stories of these successful entrepreneurs who have bounced back after major failures. Any successful person will tell you about a life-defining or breakdown moment of failure from their past that was responsible for making them who they are today.
When Tata Indica was showing no signs of progress, Ratan Tata decided to approach Ford to sell the car project. The Tatas went to Detroit, where they met Bill Ford who taunted Ratan Tata by saying, “Why did you enter in the passenger car business when you did not know of it? It will be favor if we buy this business from you”. This made Tata withdraw the offer.
A couple of years later, when Ford was in losses, Tata group were offered the deal of buying Jaguar-Land Rover. At that time, Bill Ford said to Ratan Tata, “You are doing a big favour for us by buying Jaguar- Land Rover”. In 2014, Tata Motors made a profit of 2.33 Lakh Crore and JLR’s share in it was off 1.90 Lakh Crore, around 82%. Need I say more? Now that’s a comeback!
Apple has one of the greatest comeback stories in tech history. Founder Steve Jobs was fired from his company in 1985. Apple found itself operating at a loss, as it inched towards failure. In the 12 years that followed, in need of a new approach, Apple hired back Jobs in 1997 and he scored a partnership with Microsoft to invest $150 million in the company. A year later, the company introduced the iMac and for the first time since 1995, returned to profitability. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sunil Bharti Mittal
Sunil Bharti Mittal started his entrepreneurship journey at the age of 18, with a capital investment of 20,000 borrowed from his father. His first business was to make crankshafts for local bicycle manufacturers. Within three years he had set up two more plants, one that turned out the yarn and the other stainless-steel sheets. The initial days were very difficult and he earned very little from these ventures. He was putting in 16 to 18 hours each day, but his business just didn’t grow. He sensed that the business would remain small and therefore he moved out to Mumbai after selling the bicycle parts and yarn factories. He wasn’t successful in his first business. In 1980, he started an Import company named Bharti Overseas Trading Company. In 1981, he purchased importing licenses from exporting companies in Punjab. He then imported thousands of Suzuki Motors’s portable electric-power generators from Japan. By 1982, he had started a full-fledged business selling portable generators imported from Japan. In 1983, the government banned the import of generators and granted the manufacturing rights to just 2 companies.
But now he is not just the owner of Bharti Airtel which clocked revenues of over USD 14.75 billion in FY2016. But also listed as the 8th richest person in India by Forbes with a Net worth of $7 Billion.
Imagine your entire factory being bombed twice, and then crumbling a third time after an earthquake! If we were Soichiro Honda, we would have thought that its destiny that doesn’t want us to build a business. However, Soichiro had no such thoughts. The founder of Honda automobiles did not give up despite his factory being bombed twice in World War ll. He then thought of making a bicycle that had a small motor in it. The scooter was then exported to the US and it was a huge hit. Thereon began the successful journey of an entrepreneur who never looked back.
If you have had multiple failed business attempts in the past, hope so these stories will inspire you to learn from your mistakes, reflect and accept the failure, but revisit your passion and keep pursuing your goals no matter what.