No Startups Fail

How do we measure the success of a startup these days? Is it based on valuation? Revenue? User base? It’s not an easy thing to understand what it truly means to be successful. First off, let me clarify by saying that by no means am I an authority on actually being successful. My company Rally, though we started off really strong, didn’t ultimately work out as planned. But does that mean that we weren’t “successful”? Most would say yes. Well I disagree.

We’ve all heard that 7 out of 10 startups are going to fail. Running a company is perhaps one of the most challenging things a person can do. It’s demanding in nearly every respect beyond that of a normal job. As a result, things don’t usually work out as planned. But what does it actually mean when a startup “fails”? Personally, I think its more fair to say that 7 out of 10 startups succeed just on a smaller scale.

Failure is only a stepping stone on the path to success. It’s a redirection and shows you where you shouldn’t be. The best way to perfect your craft and vision is by being persistent and trying out new things even if they have a good chance of not succeeding. Write out your ideas, develop them, design them and get real feedback from friends to help the overall vision. Even if that means doing one thing per day you’re already succeeding because you’re doing something not many people actually follow through with. At some point, the words “what if…” come out of everyones mouth but that is where the idea dies. Don’t let your ideas die. Take risks and learn along the way because if you do, you’ve already succeeded.

So does failure truly exist? Yes, of course. The real failure is fear of failing. Its fear of failing that can keep you from success. Though Rally didn’t become as big as I’d hoped, the incredible experience I got and valuable skills that I learned are all things that I never would have if I had continued sitting behind a desk at a normal job. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t nervous for my company at times but at least I got to experience that feeling and learn how to avoid it next time better than ever.

Rally hasn’t failed. It’s inspired new approaches, knowledge, experience, and ideas that can turn into something great. It allows me to begin again but more wisely. Whatever I work on next, I’m that much more confident it will be more successful than ever.