Everyone Fails; It’s What Happens Next That Counts

By Lisa Trigg The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The "Fail Fest" Conference is a unique event designed to inspire entrepreneurs. The program celebrates the role "failure" plays in moving careers, companies and communities forward.

The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.

Bringing a great idea to reality can be a real challenge when all potential investors say, "No, thanks" before you finish your sales pitch.

That's the roadblock one entrepreneur presented to the panelists at the second annual Fail Fest conference Wednesday.

"That's when you pivot," said Teresa Sabatine, a film commissioner who has experienced her share of "failure" leading her to coach others on changes they can make to be successful in their lives. "You ask people about themselves first so you can see what will interest them, and then you present your idea to spark their interest."

Getting that kind of suggestion was part of the networking and experience sharing at the event, which celebrates the role failure -- and going onward -- plays in moving careers, companies and communities forward.

Shelley Klingerman, executive director of Launch Terre Haute and the event organizer, said Fail Fest's intent is to redefine failure and encourage startup companies and entrepreneurs to pivot for change, not just give up when an idea flops.

"A lot of learning comes from failure," Klingerman said. "Don't let it be the end. So that's why we are trying to redefine what failure is."

Most successful companies and business people have experienced failure of some sort.

For Paul Thrift, chief executive of Thompson Thrift Development, hard lessons were learned when the company grew too fast. And when feedback from potential investors continues to be "No," it is worth re-evaluating the project, making modifications and continuing to persevere if the idea is still valid.

Sometimes, strategist April Yvette said, people can get so connected to their own ideas that they are no longer objective or able to change the idea to be what the market wants or needs. So receiving input and acting upon it are essential.

And, a "No" is to be expected, said author Jackie Bledsoe.

"You will get 'No's.' Don't be offended. Improve it until you get 'Yeses,'" Bledsoe said.

The more than 225 who attended the event at the Indiana Theatre also heard that age makes failing a faster-yielding phenomenon.

Allison Barber, chancellor at WGU Indiana, said getting to the point of failure faster saves time, money and lets a person move on to future success.

Barber said she learned the four stages of failure at an early age when she tried to sell garden seeds during the winter. She said she has learned that the rejection stage leads to review of the situation, which means she must regroup to figure out how to succeed. Then she re-engages with another pitch.

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