The top 5 reasons businesses fail are not only avoidable, but when conquered will help your business to thrive…not just barely survive.Most of us go into business because we are passionate about something and want to make that our life’s purpose. Our business is often very personal to an entrepreneur and we want very badly for it to succeed. Unfortunately, so many don’t get to see that happen. But these mistakes have solutions…not always easy but if done right can be the difference of failing and great success.  

1. No Compass

If you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there, what are your chances of arrival?

Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean Knowing what your vision is for your business AND how that fits into your life is the first step. You should have a very clear picture of what you want that to look like. And know your WHY….what motivates you and drives you.

Set clear goals and benchmarks. When you know where you are going then you can make a “MAP”. You can get creative with this too….try a vision board, dream journaling or Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Mapping. 

After you have your vision or picture, you want to get very specific with measurable and clearly defined action steps. Identifying your goals, the steps you need to take to get there and then how to track them will get you to where you want to be. 

 

2. Weak Foundation

Having a good foundation isn’t just about a business plan, although a good business plan is important too. You just want to make sure it’s a plan that works for you and actually has a purpose (other than getting a bank loan).  Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch, the Verge

It’s also about having structure, an accountability system, solid policies and procedures and good systems for your business.

As you grow your business, of course you are going to have a mix of “building the plane as you fly it” and having solid foundations.  It’s important to know when to focus on putting your systems in place and how to set your structure. 

 Discipline = Freedom   Having a strong discipline and structure in your business will relieve overwhelm and stress. 

Tip: When creating your block schedule, be sure to block in time for yourself FIRST. Know what is most important and make sure you are realistic about what you can get done.  

3. Poor Communication

The first key to good communication is listening. Do you take the time to really know your customer’s true needs and desires? So many new businesses make the mistake of having an idea they feel so passionate about but don’t take the time to listen to their client/customer.

Another place you need to be really clear is in your messaging. Are you communicating clearly what it is you do, offer or solve? What messages are you sending in your branding, marketing and how you talk to your customer/potential customer?

Communication within your company is crucial to your growth. A well oiled machine needs a clearly articulated and presented work culture and to know what everyone’s expectations are. Regular meetings (even if it’s with yourself in the beginning) and check-ins can be a great place to start. 

4. Failure to learn from Failure

“The greatest teacher, failure is.”–Master Yoda (Star Wars)

Not learning from your mistakes is a huge missed opportunity. Every time you have a “failure” you have a chance to turn that into a new policy, a revised business plan, a new goal and of course a lesson learned. 

As you grow your business not only will your mistakes help develop your policies and procedures but it will help you to learn what you want and don’t want. It can help you narrow your target market, decide who you want to work with (or not),where you want to allocate your resources, spend your time and focus and develop a checks and balance for your company. 

Essential to your growth, failure is! 

 

5. Going it AlonePicture: DreamWorks Pictures

Don’t try to do it all yourself!  There are so many resources out there to help you. (SBDC, SCORE, WEDC, a good business coach, a mentor, The Chamber of Commerce, Wilson….)

It’s important to know what your good at and where you need help. Most of us go into business because we are good at whatever we went into business for.  That does not mean we know how to do everything else.  A good baker can open a bakery and make a mean pie…that doesn’t mean they know how to balance their books, do the marketing or design their webpage.  Know when to hire the right employees or contractors to help you. I know it can be scary in the beginning, but sometimes spending money can end up saving you more in the long run.

The good news is….you can do this!  The Hudson Valley is rich with resources, support and talent. So many small businesses and entrepreneurs are thriving and you can too! 

 

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