A friend and client recently closed the doors of her business which had been alive and kicking in Richmond for six years.
This sort of stopped me in my tracks as I started thinking: what causes the death of a business?
The owner, a mom entrepreneur much like me, put her determination, heart and soul into the business. She spent countless hours building her brand, minding the store, creating promotions and sites and coupons and. . .the thought of it just breaks my heart.
I did some research on why businesses fail and found a great article on Small Business Trends called 5 Reasons Why Start-Up Businesses Fail. And while she wasn’t a start-up, I think you’ll agree that these probably apply to businesses in every life cycle.
The first is the one that sticks with me the most, because people always say to me. “Oh that’s so cool you have your own business, you get to choose your own hours!” I often think: Yes, that means early before my kids get up, during the day, and often after they go to sleep at night, while I’m at the gym, while I’m watching the kids at gymnastics. . .seriously, entrepreneurs never really stop working.
Not developing a Life Plan-People start small businesses for many reasons. They hate their job. They need extra money. They always wanted to open an art gallery or bakery. The trouble is that too many people do not take the time to really think about what they want out of life first, and then build a business around that. They also don’t think about what their life would be like as an entrepreneur. How long do you think you could physically sustain working 7 days per week? . . .You need to develop a life plan because you just do not want to start a business that is NOT a good business for you.
I’m not sure anyone could’ve prepared me for this life as an entrepreneur, and there are days when I’d like to bag it all for a paycheck, but the passion continues to drive me. I’ll revisit these pitfalls often to try and ensure the business stays alive, at least as long as I’d like it to.