There are many, many, many lessons to learn as an entrepreneur. Some of the most experienced serial entrepreneurs will tell you that they are still learning every day. One of the lessons that West Michigan entrepreneurs are having trouble with is that the word “failure” is not negative in the connotation of the startup community.
Josh Linkner, CEO and managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm based in Detroit that specializes in assisting startups. Linkner spoke to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids recently. Linkner discussed his “Four Best Ways to Kill Entrepreneurship”: feed the fear, cling to the past, embrace bureaucracy and be a follower.
The four behaviors really all relate back to the fear of that word: failure. Entrepreneurs cannot live on past successes and take on habits that slow progress. Entrepreneurs have to fearless and lead from the front. If something doesn’t work that should be a learning experience. Linkner stated, ““In Michigan, if you screw something up and your company fails, it’s like a scarlet letter. In Silicon Valley, if your startup fails, then it’s like a badge of honor.”
Failure is part of the entrepreneurs’ journey. If all you do is have success there is no need to grow. There is no need to improve your idea. In the end this limits the amount of success you will have.
Failure is also not the end of the road. The perception for some West Michigan entrepreneurs is that failure means the end of your idea and going back to the corporate world. Failure in the startup community is just the beginning of a new phase. It can be the revolution of your innovation or the start of a new idea. It can also be a new collaboration with other entrepreneurs. Growing pains are all part of the growing process and some of the most successful entrepreneurs have experienced the most growing pains.
West Michigan has done a great job of creating groups to foster startups and entrepreneurs. But even with as far as we have come there is still a lot of room for improvement. “The biggest and quickest impact that’s made in a community is from entrepreneurs,” Linkner said. “It’s time for us to stop licking our wounds.”
Source: “Detroit Venture Partners CEO calls for more entrepreneurial activity in West Michigan” by Carl Dunker of MiBiz