I was going through my feedreader, catching up on some blog posts that I fell behind on. Lots of good stuff. But one post, in particular, caught my eye – 10 Business Lessons from a Snarky Entrepreneur, by the venerable Steve Pavlina.

Bullet item number 5 reads:

Fail your way forward.� Recognize that� Ready, fire, aim is superior to ready, aim, aim, aim.� Straightforward trial and error produces better� results than endless vacillating.� If you're afraid to make decisions and act on them in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty,� get a job.� Failure's lessons are essential to success.

My opinion, this should be number one – and maybe two and three. If you’re a business owner, or starting a new business, you must be willing to make mistakes. There is no better way to find out what you don’t know until you’re faced with not knowing.

Sometimes this requires making decisions, as Steve puts it, “in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty.” Being able to do so is one of the quintessential qualities of being a successful small business owner. It means you can assess the situation you’re facing and make a decision, even when you’re uncertain if it’s the ‘right one.’

I know I’ve had many times in both my businesses where I’ve had to go forward with my best guess, staying flexible enough to act when things didn’t go as I hoped. And in making mistakes I’ve learned that nothing in life is permanent except death.

For more goodies from Steve, read 10 Stupid Mistakes Made by the Newly Self Employed – his tips based on what he’s learned in 12 years of being an entrepreneur.

Thanks Steve.

Reader Interactions


  1. Chris M says

    It’s such a cliche that we learn best from our mistakes, but cliches are cliches for a reason: they’re the closest things we have to universal truths…

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