OK, it wasn’t my first failure…nor my last. However, I did learn a lot. Most of my workshops are pretty successful. After no one showed up, like most entrepreneurs, I decided to ask myself, “What Happened?” Richard Branson and Mark Cuban always say you can learn more from failure than success. Here are four lessons I learned from my most recent failure. Hopefully they will help you too.
Lesson 4: The Value of Planning

Hannibal from The A-Team always said “I love it when a plan comes together.” It surprises me that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t plan finances, hiring, professional development, etc. They just “wing it” and hope for success. You must have a plan for success. Marathon runners plan. Political campaigns plan. Teachers plan. Programs such as Microsoft Project, Bento and OpenProj are used by professionals. Who are your potential attendees? How will you reach out to them? How much will they pay? Sending 3 – 4 emails and one Facebook posting is not a successful strategy.

Lesson 3: Strength in Numbers

I had 3 people sign up for a workshop once; my goal was 50. I emailed 35 people and institutions. There was a HUGE math problem! A common sales funnel defines that I should have contacted at least 200 prospects if I wanted 50 people to attend. I needed to employ an email, phone and social media strategy. Product and service marketing must be targeted; it must not be a “spray and pray” approach to every zip code in the United States. Develop a focused message and deliver it to the audience who would be interested. Discussing your idea with 2 – 3 people will not make it successful.

Lesson 2: Consistency

I knew the message I wanted to discuss with potential attendees, so I emailed them once. Just once. I tweeted once or twice. I never called any one. Marketing must be consistent to be effective. Build a strategy for sharing your message or having a discussion with prospects on a consistent basis. The rule of seven is an old marketing adage that says prospects must see or hear your message at least 7 times for it to be effective. The rule is not set in stone, but it sets a precedent. You won’t call or email prospects 7 times, but communicate with them more than once across multiple channels.

Lesson 1: You Must Have an Advocate

It is entirely possible to look up lots of prospects in the phone book and email and call them. A more resourceful approach is to build advocacy. Once you have spoken to someone (ideally they support your product or service), ask if there is someone in their industry you should speak with who would benefit. This approach builds your database of qualified prospects. Similarly, it builds you and your company as credible.

When you make a mistake running your company, make sure you learn from it. The goal is to minimize those mistakes in the future. Remember: failure is not falling down; failure is staying down.

 Scientifically Speaking, of course.

Next Week: 3 Things To Do Before You Speak