We've all heard that failure is just a stepping stone towards success and the proverb: "If at first you don't succeed; try, try, try again." You should to view failure as feedback to improve on your business or idea. Rejection might leave you feeling miserable or dejected, but you must not let it crush you. Some of the world's most successful people failed, sometimes more than once, before achieving great success. Here are six people who didn't give up, but kept on trying.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen
Bill Gates and Paul Allen made a failed attempt at starting a business before creating their multi-billion dollar company, Microsoft. Their first company was Traf-O-Data, which created a device called Traf-O-Data 8008: a computerized microprocessor that would analyze traffic data from the black rubber traffic counters that are placed on roads, creating reports for Washington state highway department’s traffic engineers. Their demo failed the first time they tried becasue the machine simply didn't work. They learned how to write software and in 1975, they formed a new startup called "Micro-Soft.".
Late Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur, inventor and the co-founder and CEO of Apple. In 1985 he was ousted from Apple by the board of directors, but returned in 1998 and brought the company from near bankruptcy to profitability. Some of the products he created, like The Apple Lisa, The Apple III, The Powermac g4 cube, all failed. Also, when he tried to sell Pixar in the late 1980’s he had no bidder for about 5 years. He shopped it to Bill Gates, Lary Ellison and many other companies but didn't succeed. In the end, it was bought by Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion
Sir Richard Branson
The Virgin Group is an empire of over 400 companies and is one of the most recognizable brands in the world today, but Richard Branson wasn't always successful. He had poor reading and math skills, dropped out of high-school and is proud to admit he’s dyslexic all his life. His first business endeavor, the Student Magazine which he started when he was 16, had difficulties with UK law enforcement agencies. His Virgin record shops almost put him in jail again for tax evasion. Other failed endeavours include: Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Vie, Virgin Brides, Virgin Clothing, Virgin Cars and Virgin Digital all failed.
Cuban failed at a variety of jobs including carpenter, cook, waiter, bartender and salesperson for a software company before selling his software company Broadcast.com (previously known as Audionet) to Yahoo for $5.7 billion. Today, he is an entrepreneur with diverse interests and has succeeded in a wide range of businesses and industries. His networth is valued at over $2.5 billion and he is the owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures.
While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn't an instant success. His first two car companies failed and left him broke. The Detroit Automobile Company, his first venture, went bankrupt in 1901 due to its high prices and low quality products. Then he re-organised the company to construct a new one, Henry Ford Company which collapsed due to a dispute with a partner. He almost failed at his third attempt due to low sales. Moments before his yet-to-become empire collapsed, the company was saved by angel investors. Hence, Ford Motor Co. was born and he became one of the most famous and richest men in the world.
While in high school, Vera Wang competed at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, placing fifth with her partner James Stuart in the junior pairs division. When her Olympic dreams failed, she decided to pursue fashion. After graduating from College, she worked at Vogue and worked her way up to Senior Fashion Editor from Xeroxing. She left to be a design director for Ralph Lauren after being passed over for Editor-in-Chief. She designed her own wedding gown in 1989 when she didn't find any suited to her taste. She then opened her own bridal boutique in New York City. Today, Vera Wang is one of the premier designers in the fashion industry, with a business worth over $1 billion. The brand now includes bridal, ready-to-wear, publishing, fragrance, beauty, accessories, and home decor.
To achieve success, you have to be willing to take risks and acknowledge that you most likely won't succeed the first time you try. Start seeing failure as feedback and your opportunity to grow and do better.
So what are you going to do next time you fail? Give up? Or become the next billionaire?