At some point I was passionate about why so many small businesses fail. 50% of businesses die in their first 3 years. 25% out of 50%, die in the next 3 years. 22% out of 25% die in the next 4 years. In 10 years, 3% are still there and not all those 3% are successful. Why so many failures? Some may ask, how could you even start a business when you know the statistics? Still, in the digital era, its a lot easier to start a business, therefore, many more people do the first steps. Vision, ambition, courage, madness, a trend, lack of knowledge?
A. What’s killing us:
- Not making (enough) money
- Not understanding business fundamentals
- Not knowing who our customers are/ not understanding them
- Not being different
- Being inexperienced
- Not measuring goals and objectives
- Not doing the work or slowing it down
- Poor inventory management
- Unexpected growth
- Over-investment in fixed assets
There are so many things, you might say. And so different. And you are right. We are all condemned, you might say. Are we? One of the questions I like to ask myself when I am working at my business is: What’s missing here? Did you asked yourself that? Are you willing to try? I’d be happy to know what you find out.
One day, while thinking about this problem, it strike me. Ok, businesses die. That’s bad. But life goes on and new businesses will appear anyway. And what’s more important than statistics are real facts from now, from the present. Entrepreneurs there are still there, building their path, learning every day, acting on their goals, putting their heart in it. So, the new question is: Why are businesses stagnating and more importantly, what can we do about it today?
B. Why is this even happening:
- Me, you, all of us. Our fears and mental blocks. The lack of leadership.
- Not having a business system in place, no strategic objective, no operating principles, no procedures. In short, planting chaos and then struggling to repair things
- Wrong marketing or no marketing at all
- Not focusing on making sales
- “I do them all” syndrome
- Not listening to your clients
Ok, you heard enough, right? Too many problems. Too many things to fix. You are tired of all this. New day, some more motivation and then back to the old habits. But entrepreneurship is not about getting stuck into problems and deadly scenarios, is about finding solutions, right? Then, let’s go for that!
C. PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS:
- “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek. Try to find your why (short video, book).
- Don’t ignore vision.
- Accept that things need to change/ need to be improved. What a trainer/ coach basically does? Strategies? Secret tactics? Not quite. The longest and the hardest fight is in and with our own minds. Work your blocks, your fears. Free yourself first. Accept that you don’t know all the answers. You don’t have to.
- Your business is not a job, but a system, that either works or not. Read The E-myth and Work the System and apply that! If it’s too much for you, ask for help.
- Have a team to work the system. You can’t do them all. Your business shouldn’t be limited at only one way of thinking.
- Train your positive attitude, or you are already dead.
- Put your marketing into place or you are already dead. Know who your ideal client is as fast as possible. Otherwise you will stay in the dark wandering how to promote yourself more in order to sell more.
- Business is math. Constantly follow and improve the most important numbers of your business.
- Adapt based on your customers, not on your assumptions (Lean Startup).
- Get some sales people, train them and let them do their job.
- Take baby steps. You don’t have to do them all at once.
- Simplify as much as you can. Write a two columns list on a white piece of paper. On the left side, write EVERYTHING you do in your business. Even the most unimportant things. On the left side, those things that actually bring you money. Then try to do more with those on the right side.
- Don’t take everything I said for granted. Same for other business experts. What do you think are the top 3 solution you need to implement right away?
I know it’s not easy. But you don’t have to be alone in this. There are great communities, trainers and coaches who wake up every morning dreaming about helping you go forward. They might not make you a millionaire, but they can help you find better solutions a lot faster, they can go with you on the path and I can promise you will grow. But be open and honest about yourself. No one has all the answers. Your dream deserves to exist. Go do it.