Six Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned from Failing

Before Dal LaMagna, founder of Tweezerman, was a success, he was a serial failure -- and it took many business flops before he got it right. Here are six lessons he learned the hard way:

Be second.
“It’s best to be second first,” according to Ted Levitt, a professor and mentor of Dal LaMagna’s. Being the first to introduce a new product or service to a market isn’t always best. If you let someone else make the costly mistakes, you can use their successes as a jumping off place for your improved version.

Insure it.
Insurance is expensive and feels like a waste of money. That is, until you sink your life savings into a drive-in disco and your first six events get rained out.

Get real.
Great moneymaking ideas are a dime a dozen. What makes a great idea valuable is not the imagined concept, but your real capacity to implement it.

Be here now.
Sometimes you get your best ideas when you stop trying so hard. When stuck or frustrated in a business enterprise, sit still and allow solutions and ideas to come to you rather than pursuing them like a tiger on the prowl.

Be humble.
The best asset an entrepreneur can have is humility in the presence of a really good idea. Try not to get ahead of yourself or be grandiose. Focus instead on succeeding by doing small, simple things well on your way to building this new enterprise.

Bail when necessary.
Some new ventures can’t be saved. It’s essential to understand when that moment has arrived — before you get so far into debt that you can’t recover. Failure, as Dal LaMagna’s mother always told him, is just a perception. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

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Anja McElvaney
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