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Succeeding Through Failure and Other Tips This Week

Failing upward, knowing when to abandon ship, the importance of starting negotiations and more: our best tips of the week.
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A roundup of the best tips of the week from

Painful though it may be, failure isn't final. Many successful business owners have pivoted away from a failed endeavor and in so doing struck gold or found their true calling. Tim Ogilvie, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based innovation consultancy Peer Insight, switched to consulting after a previous business failed. "That first business was the scaffolding we put up to build a reputation in the market and a body of knowledge around innovation," he says. "And the scaffolding is always ugly. You have to say, 'Wait, behind this is something that's really beautiful.' "

It isn't always easy to embrace the value of failure. Entrepreneurs often dream of achievement, triumph and a big payoff. But visionaries from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs have failed over and over again in the pursuit of their goals. If they didn't get it right on the first try, you might not, either. But that doesn't mean you won't get it eventually. More: How Your Failures Can Help You Succeed

Know when to walk away when a business isn't working.
If you feel your business is sinking, don't abandon ship too soon. "To get your head around the opportunity, you have to soak in it for a little bit," says serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis. One to three years from the start of the business can be a fine cutoff point, he says. If it isn't working by then, you may want to let it go. More: Is It Time to Let Go of Your Business Idea?

Be the one who starts negotiations -- every time.
The person who starts negotiations is often the one who ends them to his or her satisfaction. "If you let the other party start negotiations, you will be constantly giving up control, often without even realizing it," cautions entrepreneur and sales expert Grant Cardone. Interrupt the other party if necessary, he says. Yes, it's that important for you to start the conversation. More: 3 Golden Rules of Negotiating

Set up your own organizational system. Don't leave it to employees.
If you delegate responsibility for creating a filing system to your employees, they will "create what works for them, not what works for the business," says Angela Wallace, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. "And an added disadvantage: when the employee leaves, no one else knows the system." Hire a professional organizer if you need help, but make sure the system is one you can maintain. More: How to Solve Your Biggest Organizing Dilemma

Lean on your team after a tragedy.
Few things could be more potentially damaging to a small business than the loss of a co-founder. If your partner has passed away, take a step back and let your hand-picked employees handle many of the day-to-day operations. And speak honestly with them about the future of the business. If you've hired the right people, they should rally around you and pick up the slack. More: 6 Tips to Keep Your Business Going After Losing Your Partner