Many are quick to remember one’s failure and slow to remember the redeeming moments. My life is no different. I am only human and I too have made my own mistakes in life. Though I sometimes have the tendency to move on from failure and perhaps forget, there are many who are only too quick to remind me of my past. Learning from this, I have vowed to treat each failure as a learning experience; One that makes me stronger and makes me better. This is the lesson that I learned from what some people would consider as one of the most challenging days of my life.
I recently discovered that the pursuit of one’s goals is not as easy as it seems. When one looks at all the successful businessmen in the world, it does not seem apparent that they had to undergo many challenges to become successful. Yet as I have learned, there is so much work and effort that is needed to succeed in life. This is how my first business, a commercial cleaning service, became a failure but ultimately a success because I learned a very valuable lesson from it. The plan of the commercial cleaning service was simple. I had intended to take advantage of the lack of cleaning services in my area.
I noticed that there were very few cleaning services and if there were any they were either inefficient, too expensive or both. Being a novice entrepreneur, I figured that this was an opportunity that was a guaranteed success; after all, all I had to do was simply offer better service and better prices. This was my first mistake. In making this assumption, I did not consider the fact that the ones who had established themselves before me had probably thought of these same advantages. I was naive to think that only I had the monopoly of great ideas and that others were not able to think as well.
This presented the first challenge because I was unprepared for what happened. The initial costing for supplies and capital equipment was way higher than anticipated due to the fact that I was trying to provide quality service. Since I had already made those investments, I had to readjust my computations on Return on Investment and saw that the only way that I would be able to cover the daily expenses was to increase the price. So, instead of providing cheap and good quality service, I was constrained to offer only quality service.
This unfortunately paved the way for the next problem which was the fact that I did not have prior experience in this field. While I did consider myself a neat freak, I was certainly out of my league when it came to running a commercial cleaning service. I failed to consider the fact that there are so many variables to consider and that when one has employees one has to ensure that they do their duties satisfactorily. This was no longer just a simple matter of telling people to clean something and making sure it was done properly. It involved going over the shifts and ensuring that every detail was not overlooked.
Aside from this, I had to also consider the welfare of the people who were working under me. No matter how motivated I was, I could not seem to convince my employees to have the same passion and conviction. This was lesson number three for me; I learned that employees are never really motivated to perform unless they have a personal stake in the matter. I needed to get them involved on a personal level and believe in offering quality service at a good price. Unfortunately, the only thing they were interested in was clearing their pay and spending their money.
Suffice it to say that the business soon failed. I was disheartened by the harsh reality check that happened but I am proud to say that I have learned from this experience. I could have lost much more to learn that valuable lesson. As I look back at that memory, I greet it with a smile knowing that even though it resulted in failure, I would not be the person I am today were it not for that experience. The thing about life is that there is always hope and there are several chances to fail and even more chances to succeed; as long as one has the drive and the passion.