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How to Manage the Loss of Your First Million

How to Manage the Loss of Your First Million

The current issue of Harvard Business Review on the management of failure reminds me of some important business lessons I learned long ago from one of my older brothers. A successful furniture designer and craftsman, he lost his entire business in a fire — then slowly rebuilt an even stronger one. Some of those same lessons surfaced again as I shared my own stories of failure and success on a recent long haul flight with a fellow entrepreneur. That conversation memorably began with my counterpart tossing back a scotch and soda then saying to me, “I remember when I lost my first million…”

While perhaps odd sounding to many, such fraternal consolation about losses, bankruptcy and all the drama that comes with them, is nothing unusual to those of us in business. Indeed, we count the times when our bank accounts dwindled down to a few pennies just as dear as the moments when we experienced some success. Yet for the benefit of those budding (and perhaps brooding) entrepreneurs and business managers out there trying to cope with their first major loss or business failure, I thought I would list a few pearls of wisdom on the matter gathered from my fellows, such as:

Formerly on the finance faculty of the Kellogg-HKUST business school, Maurice Ewing is the founder of RiskKnowledge, a collaborative, Hong Kong-based risk and predictive analytics consultancy with clients in more than 40 countries and 30 emerging markets. You can follow him on Twitter @mauriceewing.

RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MauriceEwing

Maurice Ewing is a globally experienced executive and the forthcoming author of The Leap Factor. You can follow him on Twitter @mauriceewing.

How to Manage the Loss of Your First Million

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