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Track “lessons learned.”

As you grow your business, some ideas will work–and some will fail miserably.

Many who came before us failed before they found success.  RH Macy failed at 7 stores before he founded Macy’s.

Einstein was expelled from school.  Edison had more than 1000 failures.

What they had in common, at a minimum,  is that they learned from their mistakes and were persistent.

Create a Lessons Learned Sheet to record the institutional knowledge you collect on projects, new forms, new processes, etc.  Did a marketing idea tank?  A meeting with a prospect go astray?  Record the situation in detail on paper or in a database–as well as your analysis of why it didn’t work–and share the information with team to get their feedback, too.

Now if you want to stop learning most of your lessons AFTER a failure or costly mistakes, create Lessons Learned reports after successes, too.  This way, you’ll have a record of what you did that worked and next time you do the same thing, you’ll take what you did to the next level.

Nothing worse to stymie success than being complacent too long!

Before you create your business operations and marketing plan for the next year, take out some blank Lessons Learned reports and look at your wins and failures of the past year.  Be in peace with what happened — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and move into this year with a clearer head and heart.   What’s the recovery slogan?  “Take what you like and leave the rest”.



A version of this tip first appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine in a story called “How To Clean UP Your Business”.  Read the whole article at:


Article: 50 Famous People Who Failed At their First Attempt at Success.



(c) 2011, Updated 2015, 2019 Elevating Your Business