Every entrepreneur is preoccupied with success. But to succeed, we must first understand failure.
This is not to suggest that failure is something to strive for. On the contrary, we want to understand why failures happen so that we can better avoid them. Japan: To Fix your Economy, Honor Your Failed Entrepreneurs says that the reason Silicon Valley is a haven for entrepreneurship is because they have learned to accept failure and view it as progress.
As human beings, we actually learn a lot more from our failures than our successes. This is because our failures are more memorable to us. As painful as they are, lost opportunities are constant reminders of our mistakes. When we succeed, we may become cocky and sloppy. When we realize we have screwed up, we vow not to do it again.
While all failures can be great learning initiatives, it is always important to try to learn from the failures of others whenever possible. There is no sense repeating their mistakes, so following other companies both inside and outside your industry is always a great idea.
Studying your own mistakes and the mistakes of other entrepreneurs is a great stepping stone to achieving success. You must also come to accept the fact that you are inevitably going to continue making your own mistakes as well. The process is inevitable and no amount of wisdom will ever change that.
However, you can also have a plan in place to minimize the impact of your mistakes. If you can try to forecast the possibility (or rather the certainty) that you will make a mistake, you can be better prepared to deal with the consequences. Learning how to forecast and address these issues ahead of time is a learned skill. Every mistake is unique so you cannot possibly address every possible failure you encounter, but being prepared is always the best approach.