Your business stories matter – even if you sell B2B

My friend Jemima Willcox celebrated her 2nd year in business recently. It’s an awesome achievement. Around 50 per cent of new businesses fold within the first year. How did she celebrate? With an event talking about failure.

Jemima Willcox at her event It's Not Failing, It's Learning
Jemima Willcox addresses the audience at It's Not Failing, It's Learning

We don’t like talking about failure. Ask anyone how their business is going and they are likely to tell you everything is wonderful, whether it really is or not. We keep up appearances.


But most people running a business find it a lonely game. Tough decisions. Non-paying customers. Lack of knowledge about how to do things. Those who start a business on their own need to be CEO, finance director, marketing director and sales director all rolled into one. And that’s without doing the work the company offers.


We’re lucky in Cambridge to be in a very open business community. People are willing to share knowledge, work collaboratively and give a helping hand.


Jemima called her event “It’s not failing, it’s learning”. She asked Ed Goodman, who runs co-working space Cambridge Business Lounge and founded Freelance Heroes, and social media consultant Lenka Koppová to talk about their experiences. Both have been key to helping Jemima succeed during her business journey.

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“I’ve made mistakes but I wouldn’t call any of them a failure,” Lenka told the audience.


Ed said: “The best solutions we have to the challenges that we face is using the hive mind. The network of tried and trusted people who run a business, in whatever industry. You could be an accountant talking to a photographer. It makes no difference because when you strip away the services, we all have the same issues.”


His advice? If you’re struggling, ask for help.

Ed Goodman talks about some famous business failures

Talking about our problems, sharing our mistakes or when things didn’t go as planned, helps others. And it can also show us that we’re not alone.


Gerald Ratner, who famously lost a fortune with an ill-advised joke about his family jewellery business, is now a keynote speaker. He talks about his mistakes and what can be learned from them. He’s also written a book called The Rise And Fall… And Rise Again.


One of the things I liked most about Jemima’s event was that I met three new people and it was their first time at a business networking event in Cambridge. They had never met Jemima before. They came along because they thought it sounded interesting. They wanted to hear about what people had learned from things not going as planned.


We need to hear each others’ stories. If you want help to tell yours, get in touch with me.

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Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help service-based business owners communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself on your website or your content marketing, get in touch with me.

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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. The Story Cave Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.