Submitted by: Darko Kulesko
This article will give you some ideas and insights about the most common reasons of business failure and how to avoid them. Napoleon Hill has once said that you want to be successful you should study successful people and do what they do or you could alternatively study unsuccessful people and avoid doing what they have done.
1) Bad/good decisions making
This is the most common reason why business fail as just one bad decision can be a reason for you business failure or success. Decision making is one of the most wanted skills in business and you can learn how to make good business decisions. There are many books written on this topic if you want to improve your decision making skills. Tips on decision making: when making decision do not rush, take some time with every decision and try to analyze advantages and disadvantages of your decision. In beginning this process will take more time but wit a little exercise you will become better.
2) Lack of business experience
You can be the best tradesman in your trade but if you lack some basic business skills you basically have two options: improve your business skills or find some employment. Being in business requires you to have great communication skills, selling skills, some accounting skills, some understanding in general laws and to be passionate about your product or service. This can be learned and the best advice here is to find a good accountant and create a long term relationship with him/her.
3) Compliance and legal issues
If you are running your business without any records you are not compliant and it is just a matter of time until your business will be forced to close. Even worse case could be that you are in some kind of illegal business activity or scheme. Be very careful with some offshore schemes and investing in tax havens as this may be illegal.
4) Bad cash management
Even if you are ticking all the boxes in your business and your business is growing you have to monitor your cash flow daily and use some cash flow tools and have proper cash budget. Remember profit is not the same as cash. Your business may be profitable but without cash you will be forced to borrow or to close down.
6) Competition and market
Always keep your eye on your competition and compare prices. If your competition is selling the same kind of product or service for half the price you do not have any other options than to match them. If you competition is improving their product or service you have to do the same. Not monitoring your market and competitors or not knowing who they are can be fatal. More unique your product/service is less competition you will have.
7) Risk controls
You should know what your biggest risks are and how to prevent them happening. Usually some kind of insurance must be in place. So e.g. the biggest risk for a farmer may be a drought so measures taken may be to ensure there is enough water in the drought season and the crops are insured against loss.
8) No controls or records
Nor having records also means that the business owner does not have any controls on his/her business as it is impossible to make a good business decisions which also bring us to the most common reason for business failure bad decision making.
It is impossible to predict all the situations possible and sometime we have to expect some unexpected events such as e.g. malfunction of equipment, natural disasters or maybe alien attack!? Therefore it is a must to have some reserves and cash savings in such moments in order to continue business operations as usual.
10) Lack of trade knowledge
Market is dynamic and you should follow and be ready to learn new skills. More skills you have more competitive advantage you have over your competition.
11) Attitude to succeed
Believe in yourself and your products and services and you will succeed. If you expect success you will succeeds or if you think that you are not good enough in what you do your failure is guaranteed.
12) View for a profit
Business is an activity with a view to a profit so if you do not like or want profits than do not have business but a hobby. If you make good profits you will be able to help others in need.
13) Outdated product/service
Example: If you are in business of selling DVD s you should start thinking about switching to Blue Rays as DVD s will be outdated in only few years.
14) Change in laws and policies
Sometimes changes in government policies can cause some businesses to close such as e.g. in Australia government has prohibited use of pop up sprinklers for lawns. Also another example can be that some professions will have to have licenses or additional training.
15) No vision
Your business vision should be formulated and written on paper. Your vision should be clear and without any doubts. If your business has two or three completely different activities this is an obvious example of lack of vision.
16) No succession planning
What happens when a business owner decides to retire or wants to sell his/her business? In order to ensure business succession you should engage professional accountant, financial planner or lawyer for expert help.
Fraud can be a cause of business failure if not detected on time and if no safeguards were implemented in the business. Assets, business records, procedures, passwords should be safeguarded by implementing relevant policies and procedures. If you engage auditors to audit your financial statements they will detect possible risks and any fraud.
About the Author: Online Tax AgentRegistered Tax AgentBachelor of Commerce, ASA CPA