THIS isn’t about failure being great experience – although it undoubtedly is, and shouldn’t be held against those who had the balls to try. This is about the ability to deal with that failure, to learn invaluable lessons from your mistakes, and have the passion and spirit to bounce back and do it all over again (minus the mistakes, of course).

Black and white movie actress Mary Pickford once said: “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

She might have been born in the late 19th century at a time when entrepreneurship lacked the credibility it has earned since then, and she may well have been talking about experiences within the film industry. But her words are applicable in any walk of life.

The indomitable spirit of entrepreneurs ensures that while mistakes happen, the “staying down” bit is not an option.

Look at the Grand Poo Bah of entrepreneurs, Richard Branson. His frequently ill-fated business ventures have been superseded only by his calamitous world record-breaking balloon adventures. Did he stay down? I think not.

Closer to home there are quite a few topical examples. In60.com for one. People forget Ian and Debbie MacCallum ran a successful offline video rental business before launching their online delivery business and, despite its failure, had the nouce to buy the video bit back from the receivers – putting money back into the kitty to be distributed amongst creditors, and taking on 35 of the 90 employees who lost their jobs when In60.com collapsed. It would have been easy to run and hide: they chose to bounce back.

Watch out too for Kevin Dorren – he will be back. The diminutive Orbital entrepreneur will not vanish from the scene, despite his recent resignation from Orbital. The company already appears to be bearing the fruits of his efforts before he left, and are now close to signing a worldwide software deal with mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson.

And there’s Jonathon Land of globalfarmers.com, a £3.6m dot com start-up that went into receivership earlier this month after failing to secure second round funding. Despite the receivership, Land has refused to stay down. The business has been bought from the receivers and Land will stay with the company under the new ownership and continue to drive the business onwards and upwards.

But I do wonder at what point does failure, or the potential of failure, become a huge decision-making factor for entrepreneurs? When do the Tom Hunter’s and Chris Gorman’s of this world decide that the risk of failure and the associated credibility hit mean there’s too much at stake for them to throw their weight behind a new venture.  Both have said they are pulling out of tech start-ups and refocusing their efforts on more traditional market sectors, such as retail and property. But they’re not the only ones.

Is it because truly successful entrepreneurs a) have a genuine interest in trying something new? b) that they doubt the future of the tech industry as a moneymaking machine? c) Is it that the risk of failure is just that bit too high for their liking and their newfound status as entrepreneurial role models? d) Or that they have nothing left to prove?  or e) all of the above.

The ability to bounce back after disastrous business experiences is just one of the marks of a genuine entrepreneur, someone whose spirit is greater than their ego. What would you do?