As a Business Owner, Always Look Forward / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The market is always changing, so always move your business forward.

In sports, people say that the best athletes have a short memory. Of course, there are plenty of reasons that you’d want an athlete to have a longer memory – memorizing strategies, recalling lessons learned in training and practice and so on. However, the conventional wisdom still holds true: the best athletes have a short memory. But how an athlete carries themselves and moves on after a mistake is important. The best athletes don’t dwell on the negative aspects of their mistake.

Much like athletes, entrepreneurs can benefit from having a short memory, so to speak. As an entrepreneur, you’re bound to make mistakes. In fact, you should probably create some type of safety net in case you or somebody you work with makes a would-be fatal error. While we shouldn’t allow mistakes to happen, we should understand that they will happen.

But what do we do when we make a mistake? There are different approaches to take, but I recommend taking a page out of the athletes’ playbook. Athletes and entrepreneurs have a lot in common, particularly when it comes to leadership. A leader won’t be able to guide their team effectively if they’re doubting themselves, and mistakes can shake anybody’s confidence.

When something goes wrong, the only way to get it is by moving forward. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn a lesson and apply your knowledge. Keep moving forward, and spend as little time as possible looking back. 

Don’t dwell on mistakes

Mistakes happen. What’s important to understand is that they’re just mistakes. The most important thing to do when you make a mistake is to move forward and avoid making the mistake again. Many entrepreneurs who are relatively new to the profession will make a lot of mistakes early on. However, they shouldn’t define their business or their success as an entrepreneur based on these mistakes.

Entrepreneurs can’t dwell on the mistakes they’ve made, however, you can learn a lot from your mistakes. Many mistakes are easily avoidable, and figuring out the root cause of a mistake could save you from dealing with a similar error in the future. Take enough time to understand what went wrong, and then move forward. After all, you don’t want to have a business that is constantly cleaning up after itself. You want to have a business that is moving forward and avoiding mistakes.

Notice problems before they occur

After you’ve accepted your mistake, it’s time to forget about it, much like how an athlete does. Learn from your mistake, figure out what went wrong and move forward. The more time you spend thinking about your error, the more likely you are to make a mistake elsewhere. By keeping your eyes on the present and the future, you may be able to notice something that could easily hurt your company if it isn’t addressed.

If you’re learning from your mistakes, then you’re more likely not only to avoid future mistakes but ensure a more successful future for your business. Entrepreneurs celebrate mistakes – not because of the damage they do, but because of the lessons, you can learn from them.

The lessons you learn help you move forward after an issue is resolved. By using these lessons, you can ensure that your business avoids as many mistake sin the future as possible. Your business’ success is going to be determined by what it does, so don’t was time worry about what happened. While all your past errors may harm your business’ image, avoiding more mistakes is going to help create more opportunities to succeed. 

Keep your vision forward

The worst thing about focusing on the past is that you miss out on the present and the future. There are a lot of reasons people dwell on the past, even beyond mistakes. If your business set a record quarter, you should feel accomplished. However, you need to immediately get over the fear and look forward. How are you going to make the next quarter even better?

The best entrepreneurs don’t focus on the past. Mistakes happen, but they don’t define our business. Achievements also happen, but we don’t want to get stuck remembering the glory days as our competitors blow past us.

The market is always changing – and sometimes it changes so quickly that we don’t even notice. You should always be looking forward, figuring out how your business or startup is going to take the next step. The market never slows down, and neither should your business. As long as you keep your gaze ahead of you, your business is going to have a better chance of succeeding. You’ll be able to spot potential problems before they occur, and you’ll notice great opportunities before it’s too late to act on them.

Spend as little time as necessary in the past. What happened, happened, whether it’s good or bad. But the past is already gone. We can learn a lot from the past, but our knowledge won’t help us if we’re not looking forward.

Keep your business, and yourself, moving forward. The past is gone, but you can do anything you want with the future.


Photo credit: Ollyy/Shutterstock

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