Why Small Businesses Fail

According to Forbes Magazine 90% of all new businesses FAIL.  Nine out of ten.

Why is that?

There are many reasons that range from poor capitalization to bad practices, but what I want to focus on today is this:

Is what you are doing NOW going to get you where you want to be?



man-209417__180That question is our focus today.

In a prior post I wrote about the 3 Components Of A Successful Business and I talked about in the Podcast (Episode 2).  Today’s post falls under the first component (YOU!) but has parts that stretch to the other two components as well.

3 components of a successful business infographic

Specifically, have we thought our venture all the way through?  Poor planning, insufficient research into the TRUE needs and wants of our prospects/audience, truly understanding what an ideal customer is for us, and then crafting our product/service to match those realities is where we so VERY often miss the mark.

Think about that for a moment.

How can we hope to succeed if we can’t do those (Very!) basic things?  And yet, when I am working with my clients it is shocking just how often they cannot answer these basic questions, or do these basic things:

  1. If this venture develops the way you would like it to, what will it be in 1, 3, and 5 years?  (This is the business equivalent of asking a child what they want to be when they grow up!)
  2. Describe your ideal customer to me
  3. Explain to me, in the language your customer would use, how your product/service benefits them
  4. What is your sales process/audience engagement plan?
  5. What is your customer’s buying process?
  6. How are you different from your competition, and how do you articulate that difference to your prospects/audience?
  7. How do you ensure that your messaging is targeted toward what your prospects/customers/audience WANT to hear about?  (HINT: It isn’t YOU!)
  8. Are you prepared to overcome the inevitable objections they will have to moving forward with your product/service?
  9. Do you have a plan in place to systematically maintain contact with your prospects/audience so you can place yourself in a “closing” position when the time is right?
  10. How do you convert your customers into a loyal community that is excited by you and your brand?

These are the basics.  There are many more, and deeper, questions to be asked and topics to be explored, but these are the absolute basics.  And yet, well over 70% of the people and companies cannot complete all ten of these when we start working together.  70%!

Is that one in ten success rate becoming clearer now?

It certainly is for me.

Is it for you?

Can you give detailed, specific answers to all ten?  If you can’t, that’s okay.  It’s not where we start in this game, it’s where we finish.  Here and in the podcast we will dig into this area and we will explore these topics in more detail, but for now here is my challenge to you:

  • Start with yourself and answer the questions that fall under the 1st component (You).  Don’t settle for “surface” answers.  Stop and think about your replies.  Imagine you were being asked by an investor who was looking to make a significant investment.  Answer as though the answer would need to satisfy them. (If you have a team have them do the same!)
  • If your venture has progressed to the point where you have customers, then interview them:
    • Why did they buy from you?
    • Did they get the benefit they expected from working with you?
    • What tangible, quantifiable benefit did they receive?
    • Was that benefit what you expected it to be?
    • What points of hesitation did they have?
    • Have they shared you with their friends/colleagues/peers?
  • If you haven’t gotten any customers yet:
    • What does an ideal customer “look like?”
    • Once you have identified your ideal customer, find people who match that profile and engage with them.  Learn what drives them and how your product/service interacts with that.
    • Understand what their fears are and why they would hesitate in moving forward with a product/service like yours
  • If you have progressed to the point where you have a product/service:
    • Examine your product/service and ask yourself if it is positioned for maximum impact in your marketplace
    • How does it satisfy the needs/wants of your audience?  (DOES it satisfy the needs/wants?)
    • What, if any, opportunity for follow on business/sales does your product/service allow for you?  Can you create a repeat customer?  (ProTip: Prior customers are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to purchase from you than new prospects)

While I can’t guarantee you success (and don’t trust anyone who says they can!), I can guarantee that having solid replies to the ten data points above will dramatically increase the likelihood that you will be one of the one out of ten businesses that survive and, furthermore, you will be one that is positioned to thrive.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below, or if you’d like a more private conversation then drop me a line on my Contact Page.

Thank you for stopping by!

Don’t be a stranger, please join my mailing list (The form is on the right).  I periodically share things in that community that I don’t share here on the Blog or on the Podcast.



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