The Harsh Reality of Entrepreneurship: Why Success Hugs You In Private And Failure Slaps You In Public

By Steve Biko / Published April 27, 2023 | 12:29 pm




KEY POINTS

Success in entrepreneurship is often the result of tireless effort, focused attention to detail, and a deep understanding of the market and customer needs.

It takes time, patience, and resilience to build a successful business, and the rewards are often reaped behind closed doors.


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KEY TAKEAWAYS


An entrepreneur should not be afraid of failure, as it is an inherent part of the entrepreneurial journey. Failure provides valuable lessons and insights that can help entrepreneurs improve their business practices and strategies. Instead of fearing failure, entrepreneurs should embrace it as an opportunity for growth and learning.


As an entrepreneur, you are constantly striving for success and making money. However, the road to success is not always smooth and easy. You may encounter obstacles and setbacks, and sometimes, failure may seem to be the only option. But as Warren Buffett once said, “Success hugs you in private, failure slaps you in public.”

Warren Buffett’s statement, “Success hugs you in private, failure slaps you in public,” speaks to the harsh realities of entrepreneurship and making money. It highlights the fact that success is often a private matter, achieved through hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to take calculated risks. On the other hand, failure is often a public matter, one that is witnessed by others and can have a significant impact on an entrepreneur’s reputation and future prospects.

Success in entrepreneurship is often the result of tireless effort, focused attention to detail, and a deep understanding of the market and customer needs. It takes time, patience, and resilience to build a successful business, and the rewards are often reaped behind closed doors. This private success can manifest in many forms, including increased revenue, profitability, market share, or brand recognition. However, it is important to note that success is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process of growth and improvement. As such, it is a private matter that is achieved through years of hard work and dedication.

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On the other hand, failure in entrepreneurship is often a public matter. It can happen for many reasons, including market shifts, unexpected competition, or poor decision-making. The consequences of failure can be severe, often leading to financial losses, damaged reputation, and decreased future prospects. Failure is often witnessed by others, including customers, investors, and competitors, and can have a significant impact on an entrepreneur’s self-esteem and motivation. It is important to note, however, that failure is not the end of the road. Many successful entrepreneurs have experienced failure at some point in their careers and have used it as a learning opportunity to improve their business practices and strategies.

Proverbial Context Of Success and Failure;

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Success is measured by results, not by effort or intentions. Your business may have a great concept, but if it doesn’t make money, it’s not successful. You need to have a solid plan and execute it well to achieve success. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Diversification is crucial for long-term success. You can’t rely on one product or service to sustain your business. You need to have multiple revenue streams to weather any potential storm. This is a lesson that any keen entrepreneur must learn if they plan to succeed and remain relevant and nurture true growth.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” A good business plan is essential for success. It should outline your goals, strategies, and tactics. You need to have a clear understanding of your market, competition, and customers to make informed decisions. Many of us just copy others and we move on, not really realizing that by doing so, we have doomed ourselves to failure.

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“Time is money.” As an entrepreneur, your time is your most valuable asset. You need to manage it effectively and prioritize tasks that will generate the most revenue. If we fail to manage time, then we are essentially planning to fail.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Success takes time and patience. You may face setbacks and challenges along the way, but you need to stay focused and persevere. Success is NOT an overnight event. It is not a week’s event. It takes time, hard work, sweat, and blood. The need for instant gratification is a recipe for failure and many of us never realize this until it’s too late.

“You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” Risk-taking is an inherent part of entrepreneurship. You need to take calculated risks to achieve success. Many people I have met are risk averse and that explains why their lives are mediocre. If you cannot risk deliberately failing, then success is not your cup of blessings.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Don’t be overconfident and assume success before it happens. You need to be realistic and prepared for any outcome.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Successful entrepreneurs identify needs in the market and find innovative solutions to address them.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Successful entrepreneurs are persistent and don’t give up easily. They are willing to speak up and fight for what they believe in.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Risk management is crucial for long-term success. You need to identify potential risks and have a plan to mitigate them.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Effective cost management is essential for profitability. You need to be mindful of expenses and find ways to save money wherever possible.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Don’t make assumptions based on appearances. You need to look beyond surface-level indicators and gather as much information as possible to make informed decisions.

“The early bird catches the worm.” Successful entrepreneurs are proactive and seize opportunities when they arise. They don’t wait for things to happen; they make them happen.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Everything comes with a cost. You need to be mindful of the trade-offs involved in any decision you make.

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of collaboration and building relationships. They seek out mutually beneficial partnerships to achieve shared goals.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of adapting to local customs and cultures. They respect their customers’ preferences and tailor their products or services accordingly.

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. You need to have strong resilience and be able to handle the pressure and stress that comes with it.

“All that glitters is not gold.” Don’t be fooled by superficial success. You need to have a clear understanding of what success means for you and your business and make decisions based on that.

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“Hindsight is 20/20.” Learn from your mistakes and failures. Don’t dwell on them, but use them as opportunities for growth and improvement. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Success is a process, not a destination. You need to take one step at a time and stay committed to your goals.

Famous entrepreneurs who have experienced the reality of “success hugs you in private, failure slaps you in public” include Steve Jobs, who was famously fired from Apple before later returning to lead it to success, and Elon Musk, who experienced multiple failures before achieving success with Tesla and SpaceX. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, faced a public backlash when the company’s stock price plummeted in the early 2000s, but he stayed focused on his long-term vision and ultimately turned the company into the e-commerce giant it is today.

An entrepreneur should not be afraid of failure, as it is an inherent part of the entrepreneurial journey. Failure provides valuable lessons and insights that can help entrepreneurs improve their business practices and strategies. Instead of fearing failure, entrepreneurs should embrace it as an opportunity for growth and learning. In terms of taking the public shame of failure, entrepreneurs should focus on transparency and communication with their stakeholders, including customers, employees, and investors. They should take responsibility for their mistakes and demonstrate a willingness to learn from them. By doing so, entrepreneurs can rebuild trust and confidence in their businesses and increase their chances of long-term success.

In essence, Warren Buffett’s statement highlights the harsh reality of entrepreneurship and making money. Success is not guaranteed, and failure is a possibility. However, with hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to learn from mistakes, you can achieve long-term success. Remember that success hugs you in private, but failure slaps you in public, so stay focused, stay committed, and stay resilient.

Warren Buffett’s statement highlights the stark difference between the private nature of success and the public nature of failure in entrepreneurship. Success is often a result of hard work, perseverance, and a deep understanding of the market and customer needs. It is a private matter that can manifest in many forms, including increased revenue, profitability, market share, or brand recognition. Failure, on the other hand, is often a public matter, witnessed by others, and can have a significant impact on an entrepreneur’s reputation and future prospects. Despite the harsh realities of entrepreneurship, the rewards of private success are worth the risk of public failure.

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