It’s no secret that most small businesses fail within the first five years of their existence. Of those that do make it through those early years, most of them fail in the next five years after that. In other words, although entrepreneurship can result in tremendous rewards, it is by no means a cakewalk.
This brings up an interesting question: why do so many small businesses fail? Based on our experience running our own startups and looking at our research of small business success and failures, the answer is much simpler than most believe. It is simply because the owner of the company gives up.
Now, don’t get me wrong – most entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. However, they often times find that small business ownership requires a lot more work, patience, and financial commitments than they had thought, which leads them to revert back to their Plan B.
The most successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, burn all the bridges behind them. They don’t look back. They don’t even consider that their business may fail. They don’t keep a Plan B in their hip pockets in case things don’t work out. In other words, they burn all the bridges behind them and fully commit to their startup’s success – and eventually translate that success into small business growth.
The Romans were have known to take this same approach in history, and it worked well for them. Other great military leaders in history would burn the ships behind them so they only had two choices: 1) conquer the country they had landed upon, or 2) be killed. In order to be successful, entrepreneurs need to take this same approach and be left with no choice but to succeed.
Although most of us don’t want to put our lives on the line for our small businesses, there are a few things we can do to ensure that we force our businesses to be successful:
Quit your day job. It may be a big leap and it may not be something you can do from the start, but the sooner you quit your day job and fully commit to your small business, the sooner it will succeed. Of course, it also helps if you have some savings built up and if you are bootstrapping to minimize initial costs.
Be prepared to pivot your small business. None of my startups went exactly as planned. In some cases, I had to make major changes before they succeeded. Don’t get too fixated on one way of doing things. Instead, be prepared to pivot based on the initial results and small business lessons you see from your business offering, whether it be adjusting the product or service, the pricing, or the way it is distributed. It’s okay to remain committed to your basic business idea and vision, but you should be prepared to adjust the execution of your business model as needed.
Small business success will be tough at times, but know that it will happen. We’re all inspired by the apparent overnight successes of businesses like Facebook or Google, but most small businesses don’t make it big overnight. Even those businesses that seem to be successful early on go through more hard times than the average person sees. Successful entrepreneurs are persistent, but they are also patient enough to know that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Even the most unoriginal small business ideas can succeed if the entrepreneur is committed to making it successful. In fact, these seemingly uninspired business concepts are more likely to succeed with commitment than the brilliant business ideas that lack entrepreneurial tenacity.
Plan to be in it for the long haul and don’t give yourself any chance of failure.
Learn more by attending our free online Small Business Boot Camp training workshop. Learn more or register here. Also, read about the differences between small business success and failure.