They say 8 out of 10 businesses fail. But do they have to? There are a lot of reasons businesses fail, but here are 5 that we work with often.
Step 1 : Fail to Have A Clear Vision
One of the Best Business Books of all time makes the statement: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. We talk to so many people, clients, seasoned business owners, and startups who have a great product or idea. They can see the product or idea in their heads, but they have no idea how to take it past that point. Sometimes I think my brain may be wired weird, since the moment a client shares an idea with me, I start to think of every possible concept stemming from that idea. Whether its ancillary products or social media campaigns, my synapses begin to light up like the sky on the 4th of July.
Solution: Write the vision out and make it easy to understand.
We often take clients through a journey to refine their vision. It usually starts with these kinds of questions. Why did you start this business? Where do you want to be? What are you known for? What do you want to be know for? It’s from this small exercise that we work to derive a simple, easy to understand statement that is worked and worked and refined and refined until we can find a clear direction forward.
Step 2 : Fail to Create and Build a Brand
With great companies like LegalZoom.com, it is easy to create a business, you can even name it whatever you want. And for a small fee and a few minutes, whamo! You have a business. But it is so much more than that!
Entrepreneur.com defines it like this: “Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”
Solution: Take your vision and extend it to your mission.
How are you going to accomplish your awesome vision? What sets you apart? What do people say about you? What do you WANT people to say about you? Once you define your brand, you can snag a great logo (Hire Us), create a branding message, integrate it into your social media and marketing, etc.
Step 3 : Fail to Listen to Your Customers
78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. (brandwatch.com)
If you have launched a product or work in a service-based industry it’s likely you have heard one of the above statements or something similar. And there were probably a lot more expletives in there as well. So, what happens when we ignore customer feedback?
Remember Blockbuster? Here was a company that failed to listen to its customers. Sure they missed the bandwagon of streaming video, but their failure started long before that. Ever get a late fee? Ever try to get out of it? Their company created no customer loyalty by creating a hostile environment when customers returned movies late. There was no reward for turning a movie in on time… just pain and suffering if you were late. Redbox could take note from that book… But that rant is for another blog post.
Solution: Create a system where customer feedback gets a response.
Reward customer loyalty and work to squash negative feedback with positive results.
Step 4: Fail to Listen to Successful People
One of my favorite TV shows is SharkTank, where people pitch their million dollar ideas to the ‘SharkTank’ of VERY experienced business men and women. And while I love to see people achieve their dreams and be successful, I find it amazing the number of people who have an attitude when a ‘Shark’ gives them feedback on how to improve. Newsflash: They are the MILLIONAIRES!
Solution: Find Successful People and LISTEN.
The Best Business Book ever puts it like this: “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Don’t randomly go pick 5 people who are successful. Pick a handful of people you trust who will be honest, encouraging, and are successful.
Step 5: Fail to Hire Help
You have a great idea or a great business, but trying to be a jack-of-all-trades usually means you are failing at one area or another. Be good at what you are good at and then hire or outsource the rest. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of wisdom. Most good businesses fail because they tried to to EVERYTHING on their own.
Solution: Spend the extra cash to hire the best!
Sure it can be spend-y. But which is worse, an initial investment or a long term loss? Make the decision to get a great website and logo early on *hint *hint *hint.
It’s time get real. I mean honesty that says “OUCH.” We want our customers and followers to be able to learn from the mistakes we made. In the beginning, I decided to be the jack-of-all-trades. And we paid for it (literally). We ate dust. Finally, we decided to bite the bullet and hire an accountant. Now, instead of running spread sheets, inputing numbers, and counting nickels and dimes, I have time to do the things I’m truly good at. We want the same for you!
What do you think? Did we get the big ones? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.