by: Debbie Jenkins
Business startup and failure rates are scary...
In The USA...
- Every Year Over 1 Million
People Start A Business
- By The End Of The First Year 40%
Of Them Will Be Out Of Business
- Within 5 Years More Than 80%
(800,000) Of These Businesses
Will Have Failed
(Source: The eMyth Revisited, Michal E Gerber,
US Department of Commerce)
In The UK...
- 2003 Saw 423,100 New Businesses
In England & Wales Startup
- Over Half of All New Firms
Fail In The First 3 Years
- At Least 211,550 Of These
Businesses Will Have Failed
Before The End Of 2006
(Source: Barclays SME Market Research Team
England & Wales Statistics Based On Business
Current Account Customers)
Unfortunately more and more people are being encouraged to
go it alone by government agencies and banks while being
given out-dated advice that doesn't actually work.
The advisors in these organisations typically have
experience in larger production / manufacturing /
financial businesses and share marketing advice
that really doesn't work for the majority of
small service-based businesses today.
Their text-book marketing principles simply do not
translate to businesses with limited money to invest
in advertising, direct mail and telesales.
In many cases these advisors are telling people how to
run a business even though they're actually working for
a bank or government agency themselves. They have no
real experience spending their own money to grow a business.
Survival and inevitable success means being lean, mean and
focused on getting a genuine result (in the form of profit)
from the time and money you invest.
So here are 5 tips you can use to take
the power back and begin "fail proofing"
your growing business today.
#1. Question "Experts" Thoroughly
Be wary of government funded trainers
and / or advisors put forward by banks.
These people, in many cases, don't
have a clue what its like to run and
grow their own business. Make it your
job to "suss them out" before taking
anything they tell you too seriously.
Some questions that I like...
What's your experience of starting
and running a small business?
Have you actually spent your own money
trying to make a business work?
What mistakes have you made? What
lessons can I learn from your experience?
Will this advice / support / idea
cost me money or make me money?
Who really benefits when I take the
course of action you're recommending?
#2. Model Excellent Businesses
Now by this I don't mean simply
copy random things they do.
Just because the boss of a successful
firm like yours drives a brand-new Bentley
it doesn't mean you should rush out and buy
one too. That won't guarantee success.
You're looking to find the things
that she did in order to afford the
Bentley in the first place.
So find out as much about their
processes and systems as you can and
then look for evidence to support applying
similar things that work for them to your
Subscribe to their mailing list. Visit
their premises. Talk to their staff.
Talk to their customers. Read their
ads (or notice that they don't advertise).
Network with them.
You can learn just as much from non-competing
businesses too. So why not set up a
support / learning group or see if a successful
entrepreneur would be able to mentor you.
#3. Have A BIG Goal
Big goals, by definition, should be easier
to hit than small goals. So don't think small
- think big.
After nearly 8 years in business I still like
to set regular, big, 90 day goals. I call
these goals SHAGs - Short Hairy Audacious Goals.
Too many businesses focus on surviving. They
think in terms of what they don't want. They miss
the opportunity to really succeed and then get
what they were desperately trying to avoid
Focusing on what you don't want really doesn't
work. If you don't want to fail you should
focus on succeeding in a big way.
#4. Improve Constantly
Have goals and set targets. Know what outcomes
you want and quantify them where possible.
Then work towards your goals using the
1. Implement (Do Something)
2. Measure (Test & Review)
3. Improve (Learn & Adjust)
As my friend and firewalk trainer Sanjay Shah
says, if you simply improve by 1 percent a day,
you'll have improved 300 percent
(allowing for holidays) in a year!
#5. Don't Follow The Crowd
Look, we both know most businesses
fail so don't do what most other
businesses do or you'll get the same results.
Don't just advertise because every other
business seems to advertise. Make sure
advertising will make you money.
Don't just do telesales because that happens
to be the service your local Chamber of Commerce
Don't measure turnover when profit
and cashflow is usually more important.
Don't take on staff just because other
businesses believe more people equals
growth. More people often just means less
Don't do the same thing, in the same way,
to the same people as every other business
Do something different!
About the Author
4 Out Of 5 Small Businesses Go Bust
Inside 5 Years! Finally - A Guaranteed
Way To Make Sure You're Not One Of Them...