Hewlett Packard (HP) recently announced it is shutting down the webOS platform. For those of you less familiar with the smartphone competitor, webOS was originally an alternative smartphone platform, but it never caught on like the iPhone or Android platforms. None of the phones using webOS sold well. So what did HP do when webOS phones still didn’t get much support? It made a tablet based on webOS to take on the iPad! HP tried to scale it without nailing it first. Unsurprisingly, the webOS tablet flopped, even after a $100 price drop.
Luckily, HP had set up guardrails for webOS. When it didn’t become profitable or sell, HP officially killed all future production for webOS tablets and smartphones, then had a fire sale for the tablets to recoup losses. Unable to meet its goal, HP zigzagged to the next course of action to avoid crashing the guardrails. This was a good move! WebOS didn’t do well, so now it’s back to the drawing board to establish a new foundation to drive the company to profitability. The only regret HP should feel regarding this decision is that it didn’t cut its losses earlier.
Failure is a huge part of both business and success. Failing efficiently is also one of the hardest parts of business to figure out, particularly since it’s one area no one wants to be good at. But having had 11 businesses fail, I can tell you that knowing how to let your business fail without letting it make your life fail is vital to any entrepreneur.