Cyprus Mail

In business, fear and complacency are equally harmful

A stigma is attached to business failure in Cyprus

By George Mountis

We find it very hard to deal with failure in Cyprus.

Even the thought comes with a stigma (another indication of the small society syndrome), and in general Cypriots are reluctant to discuss the subject. In other EU countries, failure is not seen as something to be embarrassed about. It’s just accepted as a part of life – something you can learn from.

One could argue that if you want to be a truly successful entrepreneur then one of the first things to do is to understand and accept the concept of failure.

A key characteristic of modern-day business people is that they are ready and willing to take risks. Of course the best strategy is to minimise the risk and make it a calculated one. But when you are in business, you must be open to the fact that things could potentially go wrong. If you become afraid of failure then it will make you too afraid to take risks, which in itself can be a fatal business flaw as it hinders growth.

The majority of business people do not ‘strike gold’ every time. We have experienced plenty of failures along the way. The real secret of success is not to become disheartened by failure. Throughout the years, we have found that the most successful people in business are the ones who have learnt to take “failure in their stride”.

One of the secrets to success is to stick to the belief in proper due diligence and analyse every deal thoroughly. Once you realise that things aren’t going to get any better, it is best to get out while you can, rather than continuing just to try and save face.

I have made the same points to my mother a few times throughout the years, especially when the family business struggled financially.

I am also a believer that success is a ‘journey rather than a destination’. I know it sounds clichéd, but it’s true! Entrepreneurs should always be looking at how they do things so they can be even better next time. This also applies if you have been successful, keep analysing and look for any areas of improvement.

You can learn as much from your successes as you can from your failures. When it comes to business, fear and complacency are equally harmful approaches to take.

George Mountis is regional managing partner of The Parthenon Partners

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