Turning Failure Into Success – 5 Companies That Wouldn’t Accept Defeat
Sometimes we need a little bit of inspiration to get past failure. Take a look at how a few entrepreneurs found success after they initially found failure.
Starting a business is tough. In fact, the odds of starting a successful business are around 20-30%. That means if you try and start 20 businesses, odds are that only 4 or 5 will be successful.
Of course, success is measured differently among the business world. Each time a startup is created, the odds of failure are high. However, smart entrepreneurs know that it may take a couple of tries before they come up with that million-dollar idea. In business, the only real sign of failure is giving up.
It’s easy to look at companies such as Amazon or Apple and assume that everything was perfect from the start. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We take a look at 5 companies that experienced failure in order to achieve success.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, lost $175 million when he purchased LivingSocial, a potential competitor against Groupon. When asked about it, Bezos openly admits that the investment was a complete flop. However, he doesn’t let losing almost $200 million dollars ruin his plans for moving forward. He said, “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com.” Billions is right. Jeff Bezos is worth $30 billion dollars.
To this day, Amazon still releases products that never take off. Bezos continues with his positive attitude that every time he fails he’s one step closer to success.
Kathryn Minshew, CEO and co-founder of The Muse, didn’t start out with immediate success. The Muse is based out of New York and offers career advice, job opportunities and resources to aspiring professionals around the world.
Minshew began her company in 2010 after she quit her day job at Clinton Health Access Initiative. The company started small, only attracting 9,000 users in the beginning years. The company was headed downhill, but with a redesign of their strategy moving forward and a newly focused group, The Muse took off and now has well over 2 million users in more than 160 countries.
Nick Woodman was a typical surf bum college student when he ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. He came up with an ecommerce site that sold cheap electronics, but after making $0 of profits, Woodman shut the company down.
Nick went back to his roots of surfing and came up with an idea for GoPro – a camera that could be used for athletes competing in extreme sports. Woodman says that his first two failures (he started a marketing website that also flopped) inspired him to work harder and be entirely committed to success. Woodman became one of the youngest billionaires in the world, and GoPro today is worth over $2 billion.
Steve Jobs is commonly viewed as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. The company he co-founded is currently worth more than $652 billion. However, Jobs had his fair share of failures along the way.
When he started with Apple, he worked on the Apple Lisa, an expensive PC that introduced GUI and cutting-edge concepts. Never heard of it? That’s because the computer never took off. In fact, it was a huge failure. No one even looked at the highly overpriced machine.
Jobs learned from his Apple Lisa project and turned it around, eventually coming up with the 1984 Macintosh. This computer used the same basic GUI and concepts as the Apple Lisa, but at a fraction of the price. The Macintosh computer was a hit, and the rest is history.
Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, was behind the Apple Maps project that cost Apple $30 billion dollars a few years ago. Apple Maps may have cost the multi-billion dollar company big money, but no one can argue that Tim Cook is one of the most successful CEOs on the planet. In fact, Apple just had its most successful quarter ever, bringing in $76.4 billion of total revenue.
James Dyson was determined to come up with the perfect vacuum. In fact, it took fifteen years and 5,127 vacuum prototypes before he struck gold. His DCO1, the first bagless vacuum cleaner, came into the market in 1993. It was a huge success. Dyson agrees with Thomas Edison when he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Today, Dyson is worth well over $4 billion.
It can be intimidating to start a business. However, remember that with each failure, a lesson is learned. There was no telling James Dyson that he should just give up and try to snag a “real” job. Tim Cook didn’t let a couple of poorly developed ideas ruin his now billion dollar business.
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Let these inspiring stories lead you to your own successful startup. Tweet us @westhost to share your failure and success stories!