What to Do After You Make a Mistake In Business

Recover from Mistakes in Business

At some point in your career, you’re going to make a mistake in business. Some mistakes will be because you didn’t know any better. Other mistakes will be because you goofed.

I know I’ve made a mistake in business or two. Heck, sometimes I’ve made the mistake of taking on a client I knew would be a headache because I was desperate for the money. Or, I made the mistake of low-balling myself. Or, I made the mistake of taking on a project I had a bad feeling about. Or, sometimes I’ve made a mistake because I was careless.

We’ve all done it and if you haven’t yet, you will. While you should do your best to avoid a mistake in business, the reality is no one is perfect. That’s why it’s important to know what to do after you’ve erred.

Be compassionate with yourself.

The first step to turning things around after you’ve made a mistake in business is to be compassionate with yourself. You’re human. It’s okay.

The reason this is important is because I’ve seen people try to cover up their mistakes precisely because they didn’t practice that compassion. Instead, they feel like they need to look good and be perfect.

For the record, this rarely ever turns out well.

Being compassionate with yourself also helps alleviate some of the stress after you’ve made a mistake in business. It empowers you to man up and move on.

Be honest.

If you’ve made a mistake in business with a client or customer, your best bet is to be honest about it. Trust me, this usually works out for the better because you at least gain their respect.

For example, I once goofed with someone I was interviewing for a project because I had too much on my plate. Truth be told, I didn’t prepare for that interview as well as I could have.

I spent half of the meeting feeling so uncomfortable and defensive. It was torture. But about halfway through I said something along the lines of, “Look, I apologize that I’m unprepared. I’ve had a lot on my plate and I’ve dropped some balls so I’m taking ownership of that. Can we just start over?”

You know what happened? That person suddenly respected me and they agreed to start over and take it slow so I could get the right information. They even thanked me! The entire energy of the meeting shifted and we were able to come up with a fantastic article.

Move on.

The last step to making a comeback after you’ve made a mistake in business is to find the lesson and move on. Because of the experience above, I now know to keep a closer eye on my schedule so that I don’t overload myself.

Here’s another example: I recently made a mistake in business because I was traveling. I completely missed something I should have done for a client. After taking ownership, I then started looking for the lesson.

In this case, since I plan on traveling more, I have to look into ways to better structure my business while I’m on the road. Perhaps this looks like having my VA keep me in the loop of little details so I don’t miss them while traveling.

Final Thoughts

Making a mistake in business is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. By taking these tips into account you’ll be able to rebound pretty quickly.