Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Money Isn’t the Problem

How many times have you heard the reason why most businesses fail is that they are under-funded? Yes, money is a necessary fuel to keep a business moving forward, but it isn’t the root cause of a business’ success or failure. It unfortunately has become an easy scapegoat.

It’s similar to saying money is evil. Money is a concept. It is paper, metal and a series of 1’s and 0’s in the digital banking world. Money is a neutral tool. It’s how you use it and why you use it that can create positive or negative results.

So quit blaming money and focus on these top 5 reasons why most small businesses fail.

1. It was a bad idea from the beginning.
All the money in Bill Gate’s bank account can’t save a bad idea. If it doesn’t work, if the people don’t want it, it will never succeed. Don’t fall in love with a bad idea. Sounds simple, and it is, but far too many people start a business based upon what they believe is a great idea. But, does the market want it? Do they need it? What need is it satisfying that they can’t resolve with other solutions already available to them?

2. Your timing was off.
Some ideas are great, but the timing stinks. This is one exception where money can be a contributing factor to failure. Yes, the current economy can and is killing certain industries, but others are thriving. Maybe your idea was strong when discretionary income and investment was pumping up your target industry, but you got in late and the money dried up … or moved elsewhere. Great ideas can’t thrive on their own. They have specific nutritional needs to enable to them to grow. Timing plays a big part.

3. You should have known better.
When you got excited about a new idea for your small business, what was your next step? If it wasn’t research, you made a big mistake. You, your family and your friends are not enough of a think tank to decide if the idea that you came up with is good enough to succeed (see item 1 above). The best way to tell if you’re on to something or if you are simply enjoying what your ego is telling you is to do objective market research.

4. “I’ll figure it out as I go along” isn’t a plan.
This can be a somewhat acceptable action plan if you are starting a business that requires less than 1% of your time and your money. And if this is the case, then you are likely investing your time in a hobby and not a business. Now, there are a number of businesses that you can start with very little capital, however, starting and operating a business does take a substantial investment of time. What is your time worth? Can you afford to through your time away? Instead, take time in the early stages to create a plan … after you’ve performed your research to validate the quality and capability of your idea.

5. You weren’t ready to run a business.
This can be a big bruise to your ego, but you may have had inappropriate expectations on the entrepreneurial DNA required to start and run a small business. Don’t beat yourself up over this, just be honest.

If you often blame money for the ailing health of your startup, take a step back and review the above common causes for struggling businesses. Be willing to be honest. Be willing to get help. It’s the only way you are going to be able to fix the true root cause of your suffering small business.

Doug Dolan
Small Biz Break
give your biz a break