Not everything works, some things go wrong. For the UK to become a better place for entrepreneurs it needs a more accepting attitude towards failure.
The most innovative force we know of hinges on failure. The force we call natural evolution has created wonders that scientists are only just beginning to understand. From the miracle of sonar system used by bats and dolphins, to the incredibly strong webs woven by spiders, the world of man can only look on with awe.
And yet evolution throws up many more failures than successes. For every mutation that supports the survivability of a species that are many that are wholly negative. Evolution is a random process, but through applying the mechanism of survival of the fittest it innovates to an extraordinary degree.
It is like that in business, it is well known that many start-ups fail. Many ideas tried by a business fail. That is an inevitable consequence of innovation.
And yet, a survey conducted by the European Flash Barometer a few years ago found that around 43 per cent of Brits said a business should not be set-up if there was a chance it may fail, just 19 per cent of Americans felt that way.
In fairness to the Brits, attitudes across the EU were just as unsympathetic to the idea of setting up a business that could fail.
It is possible that such attitudes are changing, there is anecdotal evidence that the millennial generation is more entrepreneurial, and more accepting of the inevitability of failure.
Yet you speak to many people and they will say all failures can be avoided if you do your homework and conduct a sufficient amount of research. Such a view is wholly incorrect.
But what you can do is try and explore whether an idea may fail as rapidly as possible. This is the essence of the lean start-up – develop a new idea to a sufficient level that it can be tested as quickly as possible, if it doesn’t work, move on and try something else.
The UK is emerging an entrepreneurial success story – but more needs to be done, and one way to achieve this is to shine the media spotlight on entrepreneurs, their challenges, their failures and of course their successes.
The NatWestGreat British Entrepreneur Awards are currently open for applications, and entrants can apply here