The doors are closed, but did the business fail?

by Sue Pitts on May 12, 2009

Last Friday’s Big O conference created lots of buzz about failure for entrepreneurs. What was most compelling to me was to hear the different versions of what “failure” means. Some defined it as not getting to an IPO in a given amount of time. Others thought an enterprise failed if it didn’t draw a certain amount of venture capital. Still others believed success (and failure) were defined by growth (as defined by sales figures, number of locations, number of employees, etc.).

For me, a company fails if it is forced to close its doors because of bad management decisions or dramatic market shifts. A company fails if it promises to deliver a product or service in a certain way in a given time but then cannot fulfill that promise.

Closing your doors or selling your business doesn’t necessarily mean the business failed. Maybe you’re ready to retire (we can dream, can’t we?). Maybe a buyer offered you a deal you can’t refuse. Maybe you need a change or want to move to a cottage on the beach.

Going out of business might be the smartest business decision you ever make. But does it signify failure?

That’s up to you. How do you define failure?

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