I don’t know… and it’s okay.
Entrepreneurial failure is a myth. Entrepreneurs know that what others call "failure" is simply a bump in the road toward their ultimate success. As life-long learners, entrepreneurs view every experience as a valuable opportunity to hone their skills, establish new relationships and become more street-smart. For this reason, Kovacs encourages her employees to embrace failure. — Advice From a Prominent Start-Up CEO: Try to Fail
In a world where it’s ok to fail, and encouraged as a fast learning mechanism I find it amazing and sickening at how many people I talk to say they believe in this, yet rarely if ever say the words “I don’t know”.
Personally, I do believe in the idea of accepting failure so that it doesn’t consume you. Once you’re no longer afraid of failure for failure & fears sake, you can truly grow and expand into more areas of the unknown. This was one of the most valuable advise given to me years back.
Throughout my career I’ve always tried to be as transparent as possible, in the hopes that even if I didn’t know something I have this insatiable hunger for knowledge — so if I didn’t know an answer to a question at that moment, I would admit it and promise to try and find out and get back to that person asap.
Claiming to know everything won’t make you a better entrepreneur, or help your startup any faster. Instead, overtime it’ll ostracize you from your peers, advisors and investors. If you want to grow faster and help your startup, be transparent and acknowledging what you don’t know and try to seek out help when you need it.
Regardless if you believe in this idea of failing fast or not as a great Always Be Learning methodology — most people would agree that as an entrepreneur you’re going to to be wearing multiple-multiple hats; however, there seems to be this weird disconnect regarding where our comfort and most knowledgable areas are and the other 2,000,000 tasks/ responsibilities/ questions/ etc that we’re all supposed to just instantly understand.
As an entrepreneur it’s always important to portray confidence in your idea, team and abilities. Still, humility is a another important quality. Really, I would argue that this is equally important for anyone in any type of leadership role regardless if it’s a startup or not. Arrogance is never attractive.