Paul Chaney Paul Chaney is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers industry news, including interviews with executives and industry leaders about the products, services and trends affecting small businesses, drawing on his 20 years of marketing knowledge. Formerly, he was editor of Web Marketing Today and a contributing editor for Practical Ecommerce.

17 Reactions
  1. I think it mostly has to do with capital. You will not make money from the beginning and this is the reason why you need some extra funding right from the beginning.

  2. There are so many ways to fail, but remember there are just as many ways to succeed. Keep trying!

  3. According to research, 33% of all business bankruptcies was due to staff stealing from the company. And 75% of employees have admitted to stealing from one company. So perhaps that should be on the list as well?

    Marketing is also certainly a problem. Too many businesses don’t realise the importance of online marketing. With the right attitude, any business can market successfully for free in today’s world.

  4. Paul, terrific points — I like your emphasis on number 4: small business owners have the passion and perhaps know the science of management but still have to learn the Art (insight) and have the Practice (experience) to learn how to get things done through the active support of others.

    This is why it can take decades to season a superior CEO.

    Well done,

  5. Paul, I am a business advisor, former CEO and mentor to fledgling startups through SCORE and I think your list is spot on. If people would simply focus on turning your 10, even the top 5, into an action plan they’d go miles further toward being successful in business. 1. Know your mission and your personal reason for being in business, 2. Have skin in the game and plan conservatively to have sufficient cashflow and capital. 3. Put your ideas on paper and back up your plan with facts, not just big dreams. 4. Know what you know or don’t know to run a real business, not a hobby, and find help with the gaps. 5. Scale and grow with quality and consistency, to stay in control… etc

  6. Having the money and resources does help but I think attitude also plays a big part as when not excepting responsibility for your mistakes/failures and when a partnership is involved, the arguments over who is the leader and which idea/way is better instead of just concentrating on what is going to grow the business.

  7. If you re writing a business plan you’re in luck. Online business planning software makes it easier than ever before to put together a business plan for your business. Bplans is owned and operated by Palo Alto Software , Inc., as a free resource to help entrepreneurs start and run better businesses.

  8. Insufficient capital is a major issue, especially if there’s sudden economic degradation. This may increase the capital requirement for a startup. My best advice? START NOW!

  9. From the local experience, here in Uganda, one of the other major reason for business failure is is lack of financial discipline and self discipline, where the capital intended for to run the business id diverted into other activities that are not related to the business. Such activites include but not limited to buying new cloth, school fees, parties ectc

  10. It is almost unanimous among the comments that insufficient cash reserves and cash management are leading causes. After 20 years consulting with restaurants I see this problem over and over. One of the leading cash management challenges for starting restaurants and retail businesses is managing sales tax. Too often they see it as working capital to cover bills until time to pay it monthly or quarterly when they are caught short of what they “borrowed” from the government. Cash management is the probably the biggest speed bump in the road to success. Managing what you have not basing it on what you hope you will have is going to determine the success and longevity of the business.

  11. What about Sales?
    I keep reading articles about why businesses fail and the consistent theme seems to be cash flow, access to capital, lack of leadership, poor planning……

    But, after 26 years in sales, specifically “new” business development I am always baffled at how many small and medium sized business owners that do not understand sales and/or the sales process. If fact, many business owners I have talked to think;
    1.) Marketing will generate revenue.
    2.) Having a website will generate revenue.
    3.) Word of mouth will generate revenue.
    4.) Referrals will generate revenue.
    5.) Networking will generate revenue.
    6.) If you start a business people will find you and buy from you, which will generate revenue
    7.) If you have a great product, the product will generate revenue (or sell itself)

    These 7 items I listed really only generate activity, opportunity or leads at best. Converting those opportunities into “revenue” is sales. What do small businesses actually say to a prospective customer when given the opportunity?

    Don’t get me wrong, the 10 points in this article are excellent points, very important and each deserves careful consideration and a plan. But, why do many seem to ignore the obvious. Sales and specifically “new” business development are the lifeblood of all businesses large or small.

    I do not know many business challenges/problems that cannot be substantially reduced or even eliminated with a good sales strategy and proper sales training?

  12. Sometimes you start a new business only for making a lots of money purpose, but money is not every things in this world. When you think money makes everything possible, that time you forget your business plan, than you will be definitely fail because you are not taken your business seriously.This post is useful for SMB’s to remembering their some mistakes.

  13. Simon Warnford-Davis

    So 2) is insufficient capital 3) is improper planning and 9) unprofitable model. 3 vital reasons why every SME needs a robust business plan, ideally a live plan you can adjust and conduct what if scenario’s – a plan such as this will show you if your business is viable (profitable), has sufficient capital and healthy cash flow and will roadmap your goals and strategies and help you be successful. Every great business needs a great business plan.

  14. an informative article on Small Companies Fail Thanks for sharing. I have some points on what if the business fails and how to move on? read more at cogenttalks.

  15. an informative article on Small Companies Fail. I have some points on what if the business fails and how to move on? read more at cogenttalks.