How many times have you come across the “8 out of 10 businesses will fail in the first 18months” line on the internet? Far too many! It was such a massive relief to stumble across several articles online stating that this infamous headline stats may after all have been cooked up.
Anyway, back to my point. Business failure is a topic that is very close to my heart. I believe that only a few minority in the world genuinely start their business with the view to help others and make the world a better place. They do so not just because of what they want to get out of it i.e. the fame, fortune etc. Society at large should do everything in it’s power to support these individuals to make their vision a reality. This is why it breaks my heart to see so many young people being led down the path of starting a business without proper guidance and preparation.
Starting a business isn’t a game, and should not be treated like the ‘Only Way is Essex’. It is reality! It can be very rewarding but equally brutal if done wrongly. Having worked in the enterprise and startup community for almost a decade, I’ve come to identify what I believe are some of the causes behind why businesses fail, and I am determined to educate as many people as possible on this to avoid failure.
So if starting a business is your passion then please please please avoid doing any of the following otherwise it may result in your business or idea not reaching its full potential.
Lack of knowledge
There is a saying in the bible which goes like this “people perish from lack of knowledge”. This means that there is a direct relationship between success and knowledge; and most importantly the right knowledge. The point that I am trying to make in this context is for every new or aspiring business owner to know and understand the principles of running a successful business before starting one. Entrepreneurship and running a business are not the same thing (let’s leave this debate for another time). There is an art to running a business successfully but unfortunately too many people go into it without first educating themselves on the principles.
You might have heard this saying many times “success is a marathon not sprint”. It’s only now that I am starting to appreciate the importance of this statement. Many people spend little or no time developing themselves before hitting the long of road of starting a business. Imagine professional athletes like Usain Bolt. They spend 4 years training just to run for 9-10seconds at the Olympics. Some of them don’t even make it past the round one. Let me say that again – four years training just to run for 9-10secs. Even Serena Williams despite all her success still spends time and money investing in world renowned coaches like Tony Robbins to develop herself. She stated that:
“Tony Robbin’s coaching has made a remarkable difference in my life both on and off the court. With Tony’s help, I’ve set new standards for myself, and I’ve taken my tennis game – and my life – to a whole new level!”
If athletes spend a lot of practising for a tournament then why is it that people don’t apply the same principle before starting a business?
All About Me
This is perhaps the most important of the three points. Business is a vision. It should be about creating a solution to a problem or adding value to improve lives. Unfortunately too many people, especially the new generation of ‘entrepreneurs’, go hunting for ideas instead of looking for great problems. They are drawn by the glamour and success of entrepreneurship presents e.g. financial success, fame, power etc. I am not saying these things are wrong for the record. However it should not be the purpose for starting a business.
Although one might go on to achieve financial success initially, it is important to note that success will be experienced indefinitely.
This is part one of a two part blog series on the success and failure of starting a business. Please click here to read part two “Steps New Business Owners Should Follow To Guarantee Success”