by Paul Casey

What I Learned from a Failed Business Venture

A few years ago, I attempted to take a second plunge into entrepreneurship by starting a second business. It was a need in the community in a specific niche related to the justice system.  It had the potential to change people’s lives/futures, and my wife and I could lead it together.  I was ushered into this opportunity by a great friend who paved the way of buy-in from many of the providers who would utilize my business.

The journey was fraught with obstacles once diving in. Every step of implementation, something would not go smoothly. New regulations were discovered. On a few occasions, those who I was trying to help were in jeopardy of wasting their time/money on my services due to unforeseen limitations. It began to suck away my emotional energy and fill me with dread when just thinking about the business. Ultimately, a powerful political figure in town put the last nail in the coffin when sharing his opposition of what I was doing. It was just so difficult to enter that space as a newcomer. After the most successful day in that business, like a final hurrah, we shut it down.

Life isn’t always peachy, and new ventures don’t always pan out as you and I hope they will.

What I learned from a failure that you may also benefit from: (for how to emotionally handle it, click here)

  1. Do twice as much research than you think necessary before hitting the go-button. Usually there is some degree of “unconscious incompetence” when you don’t know what you don’t know. Turn your enthusiasm of launching into a quest for better preparation.
  2. Interview twice as many people related to the venture than you think necessary.  Prepare questions that can get ahead of small details that could become stumbling blocks, and that need a plan. Get second opinions on what seems a sure-thing.
  3. Win over the powers-that-be from the get-go.  Think about from whom you need ongoing support and their endorsement. Without their blessing, don’t take the next step.
  4. Double-check that you are dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.”
  5. Plan for worst-case scenarios before they happen.  Always have a plan B and C ready “just in case.” Expect the unexpected.
  6. Enlist more help than you think you’ll need.  There are always more support tasks that will emerge once you get going.
  7. Stay calm. Everything is figure-out-able, and often not as urgent as it may seem in the moment. Take the time to brainstorm a solution.

When some initiative you lead doesn’t go as you planned, glean from lessons like these to keep Growing Forward.

Visit my local podcast The Tri-Cities Influencer to hear about the challenges of other entrepreneurs, non-profit executives and CEO’s at


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