The Only Way an Entrepreneur can Fail

As an entrepreneur, there is really only one way to fail. But before I tell you how, let me define what I think an entrepreneur is.
My definition: an entrepreneur is someone who has identified a problem (a big problem) and like a pit-bull who bites and locks its jaw, refusing to let go – an entrepreneur refuses to let go of the problem until he/she finds a solution.
Oddly enough, being an entrepreneur does not mean that you have all the answers (yet). It doesn’t mean that you have invented some amazing product that’s going to wow the world. It is as unglamorous as that you have found a problem and you are determined – come hell or high water – to find a good solution.
And so the only way you can fail as an entrepreneur is to QUIT. To give up. Call it quits. Throw in the towel. To abandon your quest to finding a solution to the problem. That’s it. That’s the only way you can fail.
And I’m not talking about bankruptcy. That’s just a financing detail, not an ultimate defeat. Look at the list below of people who went bankrupt and then rose from the ashes to incredible success:
  • Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter). Bankrupt
  • Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn). Bankrupt
  • Jeff Bezos (richest man on earth). Failed miserably with zShops, but then came Amazon
  • Henry Ford (heard of him?)
  • Walt Disney (world’s greatest storyteller)
  • H.J. Heinz (the Ketchup guy)
  • Milton Hershey (the Chocolate guy). Bankrupt 3 times.
  • Stan Lee (the Founder of Marvel)
And I’m not talking about being beaten by the competition. That just means that someone else found a better way (than your current offering) of solving the problem. But can that still be improved upon? Is the problem still around needing to be solved? You only fail if you give up trying to solve the problem.
I’m an entrepreneur and I’ve identified a big problem. Here it is: Other entrepreneurs really need coaching, assistance, feedback and tools to help them improve their pitching and presentation skills. They desperately need this as so many great ideas never get to market due to an inability of tech entrepreneurs to communicate clearly and powerfully. Because there are not enough good coaches to go around (and because they are so bloody expensive), I believe that technology can help. I am seeking ways to use tech to help entrepreneurs improve their pitching skills (tools for feedback and training). Will this problem ever really go away? No. Will one technology come along and solve this problem universally for all? Not likely. Will Google or Apple or Microsoft launch some product that dominates and completely conquers the market? Perhaps, but there will always be room for improvement and niche products to supplement what they offer. So the PROBLEM will never go away.
And this means that as an entrepreneur, I will never stop looking for a better solution. It’s out there somewhere, someday. Looming on the technology horizon. I will keep looking. Like the pit-bull, my jaw is locked on this problem and I won’t ever let it go. So no matter what you say, I’m an entrepreneur and there is only one way that I can fail. But then that ain’t gonna happen.
  • Rick Salmon (founder of
You are invited to a free webinar on The Art of Pitching your Ideas. Let’s discuss how you can have more Influence and Impact when you present. Join me on Wednesday at 16:00 CET (Oslo). You can sign-up here: I hope to see you there.