As an entrepreneur — whether you’re new to the biz or already an institution in the industry — you’ve had at least one deal or partnership that has fizzled to oblivion, never to be seen again. It’s a source of sadness — but it’s a normal occurrence and there’s something to be learned from the experience.
But just how do you turn this negative business occurrence into a positive learning experience?
- Positivity, professionalism, and connections are important.
Even though it might be incredibly disappointing to have a deal go south right before your eyes, don’t think as if it’s the end of the world. After all, you still gained two important things — experience (from which you’ll learn how to better handle such situations in the future), and a legitimate connection (which may revisit the deal in the future). Think of it this way: The deal may not have pushed through, but you’ve made a legitimate contact — and you have the opportunity to turn that contact into your biggest client someday (soon!).
Staying positive will give your customers the impression that you’re a true-blue professional — one they might consider working with some time soon, and possibly even for a different project. Never bad mouth potential clients that did not push through with a deal. The industry is small — and it will end up biting your business in a bad place.
Stay positive and professional. Trust us, it will bode your business well.
- Don’t sell yourself short!
Just because the deal fell through doesn’t mean you didn’t do anything correctly. Take a moment and reflect on the steps you took, the plans you’ve created, the research you made, the people you’ve coordinated with, and the decisions you’ve made pertaining to the deal. Give yourself some credit for beating deadlines, discovering hidden skills, learning something new about the business — or any other accomplishment you’ve garnered from the project. Nothing is ever a complete failure.
- Take a good look at previous actions to help shape the future.
While it’s important to realize that you made the right steps and excelled at them (even though things didn’t go the way you planned), it won’t hurt to do a postmortem of what transpired. There might be actions or steps that could be avoided in the future. Ask yourself and your team — are there things that you need to change in your current processes? Can you improve on how you communicate with potential clients? What can be avoided? What should be done? Evaluating things is always a good way to help shape the future of your next deals.
- Be empowered, goal-driven, and realistic about your goals.
During such moments when you’re disappointed about a potential partnership that has gone haywire or a deal that did not materialize, you might get all riled up to immediately start taking steps in the right direction. And that’s a good thing — you should seize this feeling of empowerment. But before you start doing things, take a breather and meditate.
Channel that drive to identify the goals that you are trying to achieve, document them, and create plans for each possible scenarios you can think of. You have the responsibility of making sure that your goals are realistic as well, so take into consideration the wisdom you’ve gathered from negative business experiences to make sure that your goals are practical and doable.
- Don’t set the bar low!
Yes, practical goals are important — but that doesn’t mean you should set your bar too low so you will always be able to reach it. That’s not how it works and this shouldn’t be a practice for any business at any point in its existence.
Treat business disappointments and frustrations as fuel to your fire and not water that would slowly extinguish it. These blows are not meant to defeat you, and it should not hinder you from hitting realistic goals and business projections. It’s okay to feel disappointed — but do not wallow in that feeling. Don’t lose heart. When you achieve the realistic and properly projected goals you set or even fare better than you’ve expected, that means you’ve made a huge difference not just for your company, but the industry as a whole.