If at First You Don’t Succeed: 5 Business Leaders Who Bounced Back From Failure

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

As a new entrepreneur, you can expect to experience failure on some level whether it involves not turning an annual profit, or losing a valued client. While it’s easy to fall into dejection and self doubt, it’s important to remember that you can bounce back from failure. The following business success stories show how failure can actually lead to great achievement.

Bill Gates

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ranks at the top of the Forbes World’s billionaires list, but his earlier software business called Traf-O-Data failed. As the name suggests, Gates’ earlier company used software to extract traffic data. The Traf-O-Data idea sounds familiar today, but in the 1970s the business demand for big data was limited. The Gates story tells us even good ideas can fail if the market conditions aren’t ripe. However, this same forward thinking can help you come up with ideas that match current market needs.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s animated movies have inspired creative thought for nearly 100 years. However one of Disney’s earliest editors fired him for not being creative enough. Disney then launched his first film studio, Laugh-O-Gram films, but the company failed when his business partner pulled out of the venture. Disney also faced negative criticism when he founded his new company in Hollywood. We can learn a lot from Disney about how to succeed in life. Some people won’t believe in your business idea or your ability to carry it out. But if you believe in yourself anyway, you can achieve success.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple, the company that brought the wildly successful Macintosh line of computers to the market. However, initial success doesn’t offer immunity to future failure and Jobs was later fired from Apple. After leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT, an innovative computer and software company. Apple eventually acquired NeXT and rehired Jobs. During his second tenure at Apple, Jobs spearheaded the release of products like the MacBook, iPhone, and iPad during his second tenure at Apple. The Jobs path shows that failure after success lead to discoveries that pave the way to greater heights.

Nick Woodman

Today Nick Woodman is known as the inventor of the commercially successful wearable camera, GoPro. Before Woodman achieved business success, he had two failed companies in the early 2000s. His first company, an online electronics store, and his second venture, an online marketing company both failed to attract customers. Nick Woodson’s story shows it’s important not to internalize failure. If your initial ideas don’t lead to success, keep trying.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah’s global audience refer to her on a first name basis. But Oprah wasn’t a roaring success from day one of her career. In fact, she was fired from one of her earliest TV anchor jobs for her news reporting style. Oprah’s empathetic style on the other hand, helped her to connect with audiences on her own show. The moral is not to get dejected when someone says you don’t have the right personality to be a success in your field. The aspect of your personality that makes you different can also make you a standout.

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