25 Most Likely Reasons Why Business Fails
If there is a lethal phrase in the life of a digital entrepreneur, it is “my business is not working”.
It is something like a frontal reality shock that forces you to open eyes and realize that the path you have been following, sometimes for a few months and sometimes for years, leads nowhere.
This is hard, undoubtedly. First, to recognize it, and then to move out and find the right path.
But think of it another way: the sooner you accept that you’ve fallen, the sooner you’ll get back on your feet.
Here are the 25 most likely reasons your business isn’t working
1. You don’t take it seriously
Stop behaving like an amateur. Entrepreneurship is serious. It is not enough to read a successful blog, start dreaming and jump into the pool.
It is not enough to dedicate a few hours every other weekend, when you remember and without much planning. If you have set up an online business you have to act like a true digital entrepreneur. Keep this mantra in mind: you are not a blogger, you are a knowmad entrepreneur.
It’s okay to have fun with your business. In fact, it’s imperative that it does, but remember that you’re not just doing this as a hobby. Focus on the topics you master, read a lot and educate yourself every day. Learn from the best and explain to your people that you mean business.
But even more important: take action. Because knowledge comes from practical experience. Don’t be afraid to do. The businesses that always fail are the ones that don’t move.
2. You have no strategy
You don’t have a strategy. Think about this: how are you going to get to your destination if you don’t even know where you are going or which is the way?
Absurd, isn’t it?
Well, it’s just as absurd to start an online business or any business without having a clear idea of what you are after, who you are targeting and how you are going to reach your audience.
That “I sell whatever or whatever I can and to whomever” does not work. IT NEVER DOES.
And yet, I think it’s still the #1 problem for many, many digital entrepreneurs.
So sit down, decide which audience needs your help and how you are going to solve their problem. Define your goals and, from there, draw your roadmap to reach them.
And don’t forget that your online business is a living project. You will need to adapt your strategy over time.
3. You don’t apply the right business model
“I set up a blog, I get visibility, I put Adsense and I get rich”.
As old information competes the same in Google as more recent information, many people read recommendations from 5 years ago that are useless… without realizing it.
If you are NOT a professional online advertiser, don’t EVER think that advertising can finance your project.
Saying this nonsense only shows that you haven’t even stopped for 5 minutes to try to design your business model.
4. You don’t know who your customers are
If you don’t understand your customers’ needs, you won’t know how to provide specific answers to solve their problems. If you do not identify their fears and doubts, you will not be able to convince them to buy your solution.
If you do not know who your clients are, you will not be able to get close to them and you will end up losing business, even if you are an excellent professional.
Describe your ideal client’s profile in maximum detail and in no less than one A4 sheet of paper.
Validate your business ideas with real clients. Invite them to lunch and ask strategic questions to confirm or not your hypothesis.
5. You don’t know who your readers are
You have set up a blog because you want online visibility. Good.
But what is the role of your blog: to attract readers or visitors? This difference is fundamental. It won’t do you any good to bring thousands of people to your site if they are not the right ones.
Your content must be interesting and useful for a specific target reader, who can later become a customer.
If you are a coach for forty-something divorced executives, write about the problems in the lives of forty-something divorced executives, NOT about what you do as a coach. Otherwise, you will only attract your competition instead of future clients.
6. You are not congruent
You should only talk about what you do/know and the tools you have been using for years and share experiences. And when you don’t know something, say so.
Remember, your followers are not stupid. You may fool them once, but not twice.
7. You are not credible
If you have not experienced in your own skin the topics you address in your blog, you are not credible.
Case in point, a 23 year old kid with a Master’s degree in business blogging about entrepreneurship… when he has never worked in his life, nor started anything.
If you are an employee in a multinational working in India, you can talk about attitude and entrepreneurship, but you are not credible to talk about entrepreneurship in UK, if you have never done it.
There are such absurd things imposed by the state that you will never understand, but that end up forging the personality of entrepreneurs on the street.
Without credibility, there is no confidence, without confidence, there are no sales.
8. You have no authority
Now we all want to be mentors or coaches. That’s okay.
Authority does not only depend on how old you are, but also on having successfully walked the paths that your students want to walk now. Authority has to do with the respect for what you do that your peers and competitors have.
Authority is also a perception of the market. It is often confused with popularity or public recognition. Being a reference, without a doubt, dynamites your sales. Perhaps less than being popular…
9. You don’t want to be intimate with your community
You write in a blog but you want to preserve your private life. There are no pictures of you, no pictures of your family, you rarely talk about yourself or share your opinions.
Imagine a guy in a mask (literally) at a lifelong sales meeting. Chance of selling = zero right?
People want to connect with you, make it easy.
10. You fail to differentiate yourself
The more you blend into your service proposition, the harder it is to compete with it.
Be different, every time. To get into the mix of your offer is to make yourself different.
11. You don’t measure the activity
You have your blog on Blogger/Wordpress and you have never seen your visits?
It’s like owning a candy store in front of a school and leaving the store in the hands of a blind man. You’re going to get ripped off a lot…
Or what amounts to the same thing: you won’t sell as much as you should. Don’t run your business blind.
12. You don’t know how to interpret market signals
A couple of examples:
- If your average time spent is low, it means that your articles do not add value.
- If your bounce rate is high, it is because your titles or keywords are misleading.
- If an article of yours gets 100 comments when it normally gets 10, it is because you have hit on a topic that is too hot for your audience.
- If you don’t respond to the email requests they send you, you will lose leads.
- If the subscriptions to your newsletter don’t grow, you have a problem with the value proposition of your newsletter, etc.
You don’t have to decide what to write or what product to develop or what service to launch. You just have to listen to your readers’ feedback and interpret it correctly.
13. You don’t listen to the market
Social networks are a waste of time, I don’t care about them. I already have a blog, I’m not going to waste any more time, let them come and visit me.”
What a way to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs….
14. You don’t know how to focus on priority issues
So many things to do, so many distractions that in the end you do nothing.
Reduce the time you spend reading on the web, don’t let yourself be interrupted (cell phone included) and make a list everyday with the 3 or 5 things you want to do that day. Everyday has its fair share of work.
Succeeding in business is not a sprint, it is a marathon. In fact, it’s a marathon every week.
15. You don’t know how to build quality networking
Networking has always been the foundation of business and always will be.
Get out of the cave once in a while, attend events, have breakfast with other bloggers/freelancers/entrepreneurs.
Good networking is face-to-face, one-on-one and human. That’s why it’s so slow. And tremendously effective.
16. You don’t understand the funnel model
As soon as you get on your blog, you propose with aggressive banners that people buy something from you.
Studies show that nobody buys on a first visit. It takes an average of 7 or 8 impacts before closing a sale. If you do it in a traditional model, it takes at least 8 weeks, at a super accelerated pace of 1 meeting a week.
The goal of your blog should not be to sell, but to capture an email.
Then consolidate your relationship with these new readers in your email channel. And after establishing your authority and building trust, make an offer, with an attractive discount if your reader acts within 48 hours.
That’s it. Highly possible chances of sales.
17. You don’t train before implementing
Things evolve very fast. Training should be a continuous daily process. 30 minutes a day for example. Once a quarter, you reinforce your preparation with the purchase of a digital product and from time to time, a face-to-face training.
There are many positive sides to implementing yourself and learning from your mistakes. But it is a difficult, slow and frustrating path.
The only untouchable item in your budget should be your training. You invest in yourself, in your future.
18. You don’t know how to filter out the noise from the value
This is difficult, but you must educate yourself to buy better on the Internet. Look for testimonials, contact former customers directly, validate the information before anything else. You alone are responsible for what you buy on the net.
Then, don’t mix and match recommendations from several mentors. Focus on one, until you achieve your purpose and then, if you want, look for a new mentor.
Cocktails of recommendations from several mentors tend to give you a very annoying and long-lasting hangover.
19. You never stop thinking… without ever implementing anything.
The truth is that you don’t know anything about entrepreneurship, nor will you learn it until you start.
Reading the latest book can get you a lot of juicy quotes. But if you don’t have a business underway, you will never understand what these authors want to convey.
20. You do not choose the technological solutions that are right for you
If you choose the wrong technology platform, you are at a 9 to 11 disadvantage. In the past, a small business did not have access to so many powerful platforms, due to lack of budget.
Now they do, but you have to know how to choose.
Start with your needs, learn about the different possibilities in the market and try to be impartial in your decision making.
The really good thing is that, with each passing day, you pay less and less for more and more powerful services.
21. You do not know how to project a positive image
Entrepreneurship is a matter of attitude, energy and mentality. If you fall, you get up and always see the positive side of every setback.
Frustration and anger are also transmitted through digital channels. Be careful.
22. You don’t know how to delegate
Alone, it’s exhausting. Learn to delegate the things that bore you the most or those that add the least value.
Focus on growing your business and developing new revenue streams. That’s where the value for your project lies.
23. You don’t want to spend a penny
Why pay when there is a free solution? Because a free solution is not the same as a paid solution. In many cases, free is not enough.
You pay for the good stuff. If you are crappy in the day to day running of your business, that’s how people will perceive you. Think twice before skimping 2 bucks.
Have a work schedule, enjoy your family, play sports, go on leisure activities, disconnect for a couple of days.
Your energy is not unlimited. Take good care of yourself. No health, no business.
Without moments of fun with your family, hard work tastes like nothing.
24. You do not know how to enjoy your achievements
“The big ball”. “I want to become a millionaire.” “I want it now.”
Of course, if these are your expectations, it is difficult for you.
There is no such thing as a big buck. What is fashionable nowadays is to work like the Chinese do. Haven’t you heard?
If you have realistic expectations, such as enjoying your job and having a decent life with your family, you will be able to live your business better.
You will have to know how to value those small victories. So important to keep the entrepreneur’s motivation high.
Every night, before turning off your computer, try to rescue the achievement of the day, and keep this thought as the last thought of the day related to your business. You will sleep much better!
25. You don’t know your weaknesses
Identify the weakest points of your business and try to improve them. In any case, do not stand still with the taste of failure in your mouth.
There are no loser entrepreneurs, only defeated entrepreneurs who decide to abandon their dreams.
Many try and few succeed, they say. But the truth is that few try seriously, really, with heart and head.
If you start a business don’t do it just to earn money. Do it better to change the world around you and help as many people as possible.
If your venture is for you a change of life, agreed with your partner, the chances of success are increased, because there will be no turning back.
I am Nikesh Mehta, owner and writer of this site.
I’m an analytics and digital marketing professional and also love writing on finance and technology industry during my spare time. I’ve done online course in Financial Markets and Investment Strategy from Indian School of Business. I can be reached at [email protected] or LinkedIn profile.