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How to Avoid Failures

If you’re anything like me, you’ve suffered your fair share of failures. You’ve probably even learned a lot from them. But have you shared you failures? Have you given someone else the chance to learn from something you did the wrong way? Maybe not. It’s scary!

And of course there’s the fear of failure, and the fear of being seen having failed. This means that sometimes we don’t even try.
And what’s the cost of that?

Or: we try to hide our failures — which means denying everyone else what might have been a helpful example.

Stephen Dubner
Freakonomics podcast, episode 561
“How to Succeed at Failing, Part 1: The Chain of Events”

This week we’re going to take some time to learn from others’ failures so we don’t have to make the same or similar mistakes. I’ve also added a couple of articles that will give you some thoughts on how you can reduce the chances of failure in your own enterprises. I even add the story of one of my own business failures.

First up – Failures

Forrest Pritchard is a pretty darn successful farmer and author. But here he describes two of his own failures of farm product distribution.

Getting That Local Food Into Town

Why Our Incredibly Popular Farmers Market Food Truck Failed

Next up – Tools to Avoid Failures

Business Planning:

Here’s a business I dodged thanks to a little planning that highlighted some things I was ignoring in my enthusiasm and optimism to get started.

Business Planning to Get Where You Want to Go

And here’s one I didn’t dodge, something that was a great success on the one hand a failure on the other. In it I give you a new tool: the Pre-Mortem. It’s a way to think about how something might fail so you can make changes before you start.

On Pasture Successes and Failures


Looking Before Leaping Tools

You can also do your own testing before you head too far into adopting a new practice. From our series on how not to get bamboozled, here are some ins and outs of trying it before you buy it.

Try It Before You Buy It – Is That New Practice Worth the Investment?

Looking at What You’re Doing Right Now

Finally, here’s a piece from Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great.” It’s not so much about failure as it is about succeeding by making a “Stop Doing” List. And since we’re still in the vicinity of New Year’s Resolutions, I thought it was appropriate.

And the Funnies! Best Fails!

A Series of Fails

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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