In business we often find ourselves facing adversity. We did not secure the contract we were after, we didn't meet our weekly quota, we were criticised by the media. So what then is a way to use this adversity as an advantage? Leveraging off the adversity is what sometimes works.
For example, you lost a contract because you failed to deliver on an agreed service level. In a situation like this the first thing we often do is look for blame. Who was responsible, whose at fault, and how can we seek recompense.
An alternative approach is to identify the cause of the adversity and use it as a focal point for your energy. Apportioning blame is wasted energy. In our example, you didn't meet the service agreement so why was that? Was it because you didn't have the right number of staff available, the staff weren't trained adequately, or perhaps it was a managerial error.
Once you have identified the cause, work quickly to rectify it then use this new impetus to promote your business positively. In a marketing campaign you might say "Because we are committed to our clients, we undertook a robust recruitment drive and trained our team to the highest standard so that we could meet the increasing demands on our business". This statement says that you failed but immediately fixed the problem so that it won't happen again.
People like honesty. We all make mistakes and it is the brave who acknowledge it. People also like to know that you have learned from the mistake. History is littered with examples of companies and people who failed. All learned from their mistakes and used the mistake to gain success. “Failure is success if we learn from it.” - Malcolm Forbes.