Recovering from Bad Business Decisions

One of the inevitable parts of being a business owner is coming back from errors, both big and small. Sometimes these are things like a forgotten bill that needs to be paid or an email response sent too late, but other times they can be huge: making a large mistake on a project, malpractice or misrepresentation, or another hard and important error. So how do you come back from these seemingly impossible mistakes to save your business?

Acknowledge the Decision

When things are rapidly falling apart it is easy to forget that there was a reason you made the decision you did. It may not seem like it while in the trenches, but something made you think it was the best choice at the time. The first step to recovering from this is noting what was the moment of impact.

This doesn’t mean that you need to think it was the best decision or the right decision, but instead it will help you move forward in a more productive way to recover from the mistake and keep it from happening again.

Figure Out What’s Next

Take a deep breath. Is this really a business ending decision? Is this going to require retaining a PR company? Is this going to somehow involve the IRS or another regulatory organization? It’s time to figure out what needs to happen in order to move forward in a way that saves your business and reputation.

It is okay to admit that you need help to recover. This is when it can be imperative to hire a professional to figure out what needs to be done. Whether that is a social media campaign or sending new documents to the IRS it is important to make sure you have the right team in place to make the best decisions moving forward.

Create a Plan for Later

When you have calmed down and are in a place where you can think rationally and proactively it is time to figure out how to prevent this error from happening again. This can be a rough process, but it is so very necessary in order to ensure things don’t lead to this particular decision again.

This plan should include things like new decision making tactics, feedback from employees and outside help, and some ideas for checks and balances. It should be a definitive enough guide that anyone who encounters this decision again can follow it and avoid the mistake without any issues.

Move On

As hard as it is, you need to move on. Business will continue. Employees will need to be paid. New clients will have to be found. Most mistakes aren’t the end of a business. Instead they are a chance to rebuild and grow. It may seem like the mountain is too high to overcome, but it is so likely you will survive and be better once it is behind you.


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