If you do a Google search on why businesses fail, you will find many reasons. As the owner of three previous businesses, two of which failed, and one which I can’t get to go away (people from my old business keep calling for service, and I don’t turn them down), I know a thing or two about how businesses fail.
They say experience is the best way to learn from your mistakes. I have learned a lot, and I feel confident that I won’t make the same mistakes twice. Now that I’m away from the situation I can look back and see what worked and what didn’t in my previous companies.
What about this word, fail? I don’t like to put it that way. To say something has failed gives the impression that nothing good came out of it, that it just didn’t work. But my businesses lasted for over three years, and I did a lot right in those years. I feel that because of the work I did in my previous businesses, the world has been left a better place (and according to Guy Kawasaki, that should be any business’s goal).
As a marketing company, I can now see some of the areas I definitely could have improved upon, and as I attempt to obtain new customers, I have come across a few that I can see are going down the same path I did, and I just want to do anything I can to save them. Some of them feel like a downright emergency situation, that without my help, they aren’t going to make it. As a new business, trying to prove myself, I have offered assistance that is not in line with my business strategy. But it is like watching someone fall down and not offering to help them back up, even if doing so hurts my own back. It’s just human nature to want to help people.
I’d have come to find that in addition to what my business plan states I do for businesses, I seem to be taking on much more than just marketing. It almost seems I’m more of a business coach than just a marketing guru.
So why did my businesses not continue to produce (which sounds so much better than fail)? The number one reason is that as much as I was putting toward my marketing efforts, people just didn’t know about me.
Of course, when my marketing efforts finally paid off, and people had heard of me, and wanted my business, I realized I had scaled up too quickly. I had gone from no customers to too many. Then something happened that was totally out of my control. My business partner (also my husband) became ill and felt he couldn’t continue with the company anymore. Then I was on my own.
The difference between my marketing efforts then and now is that I had to find time to market my company while running it, and often didn’t have the time or resources to do it effectively. Now marketing is my only job, so it is easier and I have more time to do it.
I feel I am doing a great job at marketing my company based on several factors, one of which is that I learned from my mistakes. Another is that I came up with ideas in my previous businesses that I didn’t have time to implement then. Now I have all the time in the world, because that is just what I do.
In summary, there are many ways businesses fail, but the part I cover is making sure people know you not only exist, but you have a great product or service that they really want, and will come to you to get it.