Starting Your Own Business: Don’t Fear Failure


A recent study by UPS found 48 percent of Americans said they dream about starting a small business. Over the past year I have seen entrepreneurship celebrated, discussed and acknowledged more than ever in the UK and we need to sustain these conversations to inspire a new generation.

One of the biggest challenges for young people today is a fear of failure – they tend to be risk averse. Failure in the UK is frowned upon whereas in the USA it is far more widely accepted – for many investors a failure or two are known to add worldly experience and potentially make them a more likely investment as they will have learnt from their failures.

David Taylor published a book called The Naked Leader whom I often find myself quoting. He says as a very simple and bold statement: Imagine if you couldn’t fail. Who would you be? Where would you go? And what would you do?

It was that quote that inspired me to set up by own business. In 2005 I had an idea for a website that would help students save money via deals, discounts and advice and at the same time help local businesses reach a new audience. was born, a year later we went national and now as The Beans Group we have a team of over 35 staff and reach over 2.5 million 18-24 year olds every month.

At that point just before my graduation from the University of Birmingham, I had a choice in my life – go out and get some experience (which a lot of people recommended) or start out on my own at a point in my life where I didn’t have anything to lose.

There are lots of challenges involved in setting up a business. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! But one of the most difficult things is getting started once you have your idea.

My 3 key tips to making your own business happen are:

1) Don’t take no for an answer. When you’re growing up and you want something as a child just

because your parents say no your natural instinct is to ask again and keep asking. As we get older we tend to forget how persistent we once were!

2) Be prepared to work. Success isn’t just going to be delivered on a silver platter.

Nothing worthwhile is easy. There have been times in the last 8 years whilst building up that have been incredibly trying, but you get through them. For us the knowledge that we have a website that is valued by British students – that can make a bit of difference to their lives, really helps deal with the challenges.

3) Take responsibility. Whether you work for someone or you are working for yourself, people always find someone to blame and are full of excuses. The only common factor between everything you do is yourself. Instead of blaming people around you as to why things have and haven’t happened, it’s up to you to take control.

James Eder is the Founder of The Beans Group. You can follow him on Twitter @jameseder or find him on LinkedIn: The Beans Group are always looking for great talent to join the team, so check our our jobs board. James is taking part in a panel discussion on 22nd June hosted by the Huffington Post on whether university is still worth it and choosing to set up your own business. Find out more.

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