Why most businesses fail in the first 3 years - Whiteboard Thursday

Why most businesses fail in the first 3 years - Whiteboard Thursday

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Hi there, Nicholas Campion here from 1st Formations, and welcome to another episode of Whiteboard Thursday, where we provide advice on a  wide range of business and company matters. If you find this video useful and you enjoy it, please  give us a like and share it with your friends and colleagues. But for now, let's get started. In  today's video, we're going to take a close look at why most businesses fail in the first 3 years. If you're considering starting a new business, it's crucial to understand the reasons why most  businesses do not succeed. This knowledge will help you avoid the common mistakes that result in the  majority of startups turning to dust in the first 3 years. Now, the reality is that there is  no single magic ingredient for success. A good business idea is paramount, of course. Hard work and  determination are also essential. But these things

alone are unlikely to lead to business success. Establishing a viable and sustainable business relies on many different elements working in  unison, from planning and research to personality and mindset, all of which are dependent upon  the effectiveness of those in charge. Every entrepreneur experiences challenges, failures,  and crippling self-doubt on their journey - it's inevitable. However, the difference between those  who continue to fail and those who eventually succeed comes down to resilience and the ability  to learn from mistakes. To achieve success, you must first learn to embrace failure. Whilst external  events like pandemics, recessions, natural disasters,

and war can force otherwise promising or successful businesses  to fold, the vast majority of businesses fail for one fundamental reason, and that's ineffective  management. Quite simply, it's a people problem. Ineffective management usually stems from a lack  of relevant knowledge, underdeveloped skills, and/or an unwillingness to make necessary adjustments  to personal behaviour and/or business processes. It is, without doubt, the biggest threat to business  performance and success. This underlying issue can infiltrate any and all aspects of a business, leading to poor decision making and the emergence of serious surface-level symptoms. Eventually. or  sometimes rather quickly, these issues can snowball to the point of no return. So, let's now take a look  at the most common reasons why businesses

fail as a direct result of ineffective management. This knowledge should give you a better grounding for starting a business and making it a success.  Number 1 - Lack of planning and research. Planning and research are crucial in  every aspect of setting up and running a business. Fundamental shortcomings in the application of  these two practices could have a catastrophic effect on your business, most likely before it even  gets started. Methodical and strategic planning, underpinned by extensive research, will enable you  to determine, analyse, and monitor the viability and functionality of your business  and the market in which it operates.

As a result, your business is less likely to fail. You will have a far greater awareness of what is going on, which will enable you to respond quickly  when existing or potential problems are identified. To highlight the importance of planning and  research in business, here are just some of the areas that rely on these strategic practices: First of all - business viability, which includes: Determining if there is a market for your products  or services; Establishing the purpose, aims, and values of the business; Calculating startup  costs and securing funding, if required; Identifying potential challenges and solutions; and setting up realistic goals and expectations. Then we have smooth operations: Effectively  managing cash flow; Understanding the needs and expectations of customers; identifying and  monitoring competitors; ensuring that your business can efficiently meet demand and expectations - for  example: workplace requirements, quality control, production and delivery timescales, competitive  pricing and profitability, adhering to brand values, establishing and maintaining positive customer  and supply relations; Developing and managing your marketing strategy - how to sell  the right product in the right place in the right way to the right customer at the right time; and developing a healthy and productive workplace for employees and the business owners alike.  And lastly, opportunities and threats: Monitoring trends to identify shifts in consumer needs and  behaviour; Making realistic future projections; Identifying and managing opportunities for growth; Analysing and monitoring the external environment - for example: your industry, competitors, and  economic conditions such as unemployment rates, interest rates, gross domestic product, changes to tax and government regulations, trade restrictions, etc.; Ensuring that the  business has all relevant licences and insurance; and adhering to regulations and maintaining the  statutory obligations of the business - for example: bookkeeping, filing accounts, paying taxes, meeting  health and safety requirements. Many

of these points will form part of the business  plan, which is why it is crucial to create one before setting up a business. Additionally, most  banks and investors will require a business plan if you are applying for funding or financial  backing. Number 2 - Cash flow problems. Running out of money is one of the most commonly cited grounds  for business failure. Whether financial issues are

the result of underestimating startup or running  costs, an inability to obtain financing, low sales, unexpected tax bills, or unpaid customer invoices -  cash flow problems are almost always the result of poor management. The majority of new business  owners have little understanding of cash flow, which is not at all surprising. Planning and  research can help you to structure your finance and manage your cash flow effectively. Ideally,  you should seek professional guidance and help

from a business adviser and an accountant to gain the best understanding of this complex subject. Before you start a business, you need to know: How  much it's going to cost to get the business set up and operational; How much it's going to cost to  sustain it during the initial stages, until you begin to make a profit; and the ongoing cost of  staying in business. Many businesses take around 2 to 3 years to become profitable, so you need  to bear this in mind and have realistic expectations about the amount of income your business is going  to generate. This means that you will need sufficient capital to cover all costs until the  business becomes profitable. Additionally, you need to consider how you are going to support  yourself financially during that time. Number 3 -

Insufficient or no demand for the product or service. It  may sound like I'm stating the obvious here, but it is not uncommon for businesses to set up without  having established whether anyone will buy what they are selling. This often happens when people  think "Well, I like it, so surely everyone else will." Sadly, that's not the case, no matter how great  the idea. You must do market research before

committing to a business idea. This will tell you  whether there is any demand for your proposition, whether the market is large enough to be  profitable and provide long-term success, and how to make a successful market introduction  to reach your target audience. That being said, very few new products and services are 'essential'. Most  of the things we purchase are simply things that we desire to enhance the subjective quality of  our lives. As a result, the difference between

high demand and no demand is often down to the way in  which products and services are marketed. Again, this highlights the crucial nature of planning  and research. Once your business is established, you must continuously monitor your own market  and industry, as well as adjacent industries, technological developments, the economy, and  general societal trends. By keeping your finger on the pulse, you will be better placed to ensure  that your product or service remains essential or desirable, minimising the risk of business  failure. Number 4 - Ineffective marketing. Frequently, inexperienced entrepreneurs and  those with ineffective management skills target the wrong market, whilst others attempt to  target every person in existence. These strategies will certainly produce results, but not the kind  you want. Ineffective marketing is entirely preventable yet

incredibly common due to a lack of knowledge  and expertise. You need to define your audience based on effective market research, targeting, and communicating with them through a strategic marketing plan. This approach will provide you with  the best chance of long-term business success. You may need to hire a professional, but employing an expert  or outsourcing this part of your business will provide a healthy return on investment through  increased sales and a sustainable business model. Establishing a strong online presence  through a well-designed professional website and social media channels is also a big part  of marketing, no matter what you're selling and who you're targeting. More and more people of every  generation are embracing the digital age, so your business must be online to some extent. Number  5 - Starting a business for the wrong reasons.

According to SME Loans, 64% of the British  workforce wants to start their own business, with that figure rising to 83% for 18 to 24 year  olds. However, it's essential that any decision to set up your own business is made for the right  reasons, otherwise, it may be a disappointing and short-lived endeavour. Whilst there are  countless benefits to working for yourself, do not underestimate the time, money, hard work,  and dedication required. If your primary reason for starting a business is simply to become incredibly  wealthy, have more free time to spend with your   family and friends, be able to pick and choose when  you work or have an easier life, there's a much higher chance of the business failing. To become  a successful entrepreneur, you need to have the   right mindset for business and  a genuine enthusiasm for what you're doing. If you love the work and truly believe in your  products and services, you'll find it easier to cope with the inevitable challenges and stress. On  the other hand, if you set up a business for the

wrong reasons, you will find it much more difficult  to deal with the demands of being an entrepreneur, which could cause your business to fail and damage  your own wellbeing. Number 6 - Lacking the required knowledge, skills, and expertise. Many  entrepreneurs make the mistake of starting a business without the requisite knowledge,  skills, and expertise to do the job properly, Now, I'm not suggesting that you need to be an expert  in every aspect of running a business, but you must be acutely aware of your limitations if you wish  to make good management decisions and   achieve success. It's rare for any new business  owner to possess the required management expertise and business acumen in areas such as planning  and research, finance and accounting, buying and selling, production, marketing, recruitment  and HR, and leadership. Unfortunately, many fail to recognise or acknowledge this reality, which  inevitably leads to the demise of their business. To remedy this problem, you need to seek advice  and guidance from experts, continuously improve your own knowledge and skillset where possible,  and hire experienced professionals when required.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and one of the most important strengths you can have as an entrepreneur is  knowing and accepting your own limitations. Number 7 - Unwilling to learn, adapt or diversify. None of us knows everything, we all make mistakes, and the world is constantly changing. Unless you want your business to fail, you must be prepared to learn, adapt, and diversify, whenever  required. These attributes are part and parcel of running a successful business. Unfortunately, many  business owners either are unwilling to embrace

them or unaware of their importance. If there is a  problem with your business, whether it's a drop in sales or a decrease in employee productivity, it's  in your best interests to find out exactly what the problem is, understand what is causing the issue, and make the necessary changes to fix it. Number 8 - Leadership issues. Effective management  and business success rely on great leadership characteristics and qualities. Thus, entrepreneurs  with leadership issues often self-sabotage their

own businesses. That is why self-importance is so  important. It's all too easy to blame other people or external influences when things go wrong, but  could the problem be closer to home? It's better if it is, because that means you have the power to fix it! To be a great leader, you must: Be a role model and set the right example  through your actions and behaviour; Understand your own attributes and limitations; Continue learning  and developing your skills; Hire competent people and be able to delegate; Create a positive and  supportive workplace that encourages productivity; Treat people with respect; Be able to address and resolve conflict within the business; Make informed  and timely decisions; Take responsibility for your actions; and know what is going on in your business  at all times whilst avoiding micro-management. Too many businesses fail or are  unable to reach their full potential due to poor leadership. If employee turnover is  high, you need to ask yourself why and work out how to fix the issue as quickly as possible. If sales are low, could this be rectified by improving your leadership skills and those  of other partners or managers in the business? Leadership conflict can also be a cause of  business failure. If you decide to go into business

with other people, you must be confident that  you share the same vision and can work together effectively. This is one of the many reasons why  it is important to have a clear business plan that outlines the objectives of the business and the responsibilities of each partner. By creating a business plan at the very beginning,  you can avoid most conflicts altogether. Number 9 - Lack of effort or  commitment. Too many businesses fail because people simply don't put in the work, or they give  up when things get tough. Whether it comes down to apathy, complacency, laziness, or underestimating  the work required, the end result is the same.

A lack of effort or commitment can lead  to inferior products or services, low sales, disgruntled customers, cash flow problems, unfulfilled statutory duties, unexpected bills or other liabilities, data protection breaches, high  employee turnover...the list is endless. If you set up a business for the right reasons and have a  genuine enthusiasm for what you're doing, these detrimental characteristics are far less likely  to exist. If you do find that your interest in your business is diminishing, you need to take a step  back and work out the root cause: Is this really the work that you want to be doing? Is it still  beneficial to your life, or have your priorities changed?; Do you feel that  it is a temporary phase due to other pressures in your personal life?; Are there any changes that you  could make to increase your enthusiasm?; and   are you neglecting your wellbeing to the point  of experiencing entrepreneurial burnout? There are countless reasons why entrepreneurs lose interest  in their business, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly to minimise the damage to  your business and personal wellbeing. Number 10 - Employee issues. Businesses that require employees  must be cautious of being exposed to risk in this aspect of operations, such as overdependence on  a specific person, losing staff to competitors, or productivity issues as a result of  employee wellbeing and satisfaction. If a single point of failure within a team  could destroy the entire business, changes need to be made to minimise such risks. This requires  investing time and money in the right people,

creating robust contracts, managing employees  effectively, creating a positive workplace environment, and ensuring contingency plans are in place. Number 11 - Wrong Location. Do not underestimate the significance of location when setting up a new business. Whether you require a permanent physical premises for passing trade, a professional  location to meet with clients and investors, or a registered office or business address  for an online or home-based business, you need to give careful consideration to location. Choosing the wrong location can be disastrous, so you must spend the time researching the best location for your new business. Things to consider include: Location  of the target market; Location of competitors; Demographics and reputation of the area; Other  businesses in the surrounding areas; Visibility and foot traffic potential, if relevant; Accessibility  and parking for customers, employees, and deliveries;   Availability of required services that your  business needs to operate efficiently; Condition and infrastructure of premises; Viability  of premises for immediate and future needs; and cost-benefit analysis. If you're setting up  an online business or some other type of venture that doesn't require customers or clients to visit  commercial premises, the ideal location for your   startup could be your own home. In such instances, a  professional registered office or business address

will add significant value to your new enterprise  by way of increasing its credibility and   purported size to the outside world. And finally,  Number 12 - Entrepreneurial burnout. Setting up and running a business can take its toll, both  mentally and physically, leading to entrepreneurial burnout. Sadly, the strain can cause otherwise  great businesses to fail, so it's important to consider your own wellbeing and avoid trying to  do everything yourself. Burnout is a rapidly evolving workplace phenomenon which is officially  recognised by the World Health Organization. It is not a problem within the individual experiencing  it; rather, it is caused by the pressures placed upon the individual by the business. To be  successful, a business requires a healthy, happy, and productive leader who makes smart decisions.  Setting realistic goals, being able to delegate, and

viewing failures and setbacks as valuable learning  opportunities will markedly improve your own resilience, boost productivity, and help you to stay on track for success. So there you have it! Statistically, most businesses are destined to fail. The exact percentage, however, is hard to pin down. Numerous articles online suggest that the failure  rate for startups is around the 90% mark. Such studies, however,

are often working within the confines of relatively  small sample sizes, which are not representative of businesses on the whole. The Telegraph  reported that 60% of new businesses fail within three years, with 20% of those  going under within the first year. Similarly, the Office for National Statistics reveals that only 42.5% of new businesses are still trading in their fifth year. These figures present a more reasonable picture  of business success and failure in the UK. Whilst the failure rate for new businesses is high, it's  important to note that the number of UK company formations or incorporations has been greater than  the number of dissolutions each year since 2010.

There is certainly an abundance of opportunity  for new and existing businesses to meet the changing needs of consumers and provide long-term  success to their founders. If you've caught the entrepreneurial bug and think the time is right to  take the plunge, you now know why most businesses fail and how to avoid these common pitfalls  on your journey to success. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments  section below, and in the meantime be sure to subscribe to our channel to get more advice  on limited companies, reporting requirements and tax obligations. We're always happy to hear from  you, and we can't wait to help. Until next time, cheerio.

2021-06-22 16:00

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