Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ten Top Reasons Businesses Fail

“Going out of Business” signs are being hung up more often these days. Of course, not in storefronts exclusively, as we might expect walking through malls and shopping centers. We see the signs in RIFs, layoffs, plant closings, acquisitions, etc. We also see the signs in quarterly financial reports with dramatically lower revenue reported and profits turning to losses. A lot of businesses are failing or are in deep trouble.

There have been many in depth analysis and there are some common conclusions. Here are the top ten that we have found.

1. Not admitting or sometimes not even knowing that there is a problem. Some companies just do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Recall that this is the definition of insanity. Entrepreneurs, in particular, stick with what they have already been doing, even if it isn’t working, just because it’s what they know. Larger companies get lulled into not changing and it can difficult to make directional swings. Stop. Take a step back and look at the business metrics. Determine what isn’t working. Hit the "reset" button. Cut what’s not working and create a new vision of what the future holds.

2. Failing to plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. We write about the importance of planning often. The majority of companies do not have a written business plan and then wonder why they are not succeeding. The planning process creates focus. It becomes your blueprint for success. A good marketing and sales plan, filled with strategies for increasing your revenues and profits, can often save you money and increase the results you’re getting.

3. Not leveraging your core competencies The key to long-term business success is leverage. But what do you leverage? You have to identify and understand your core competencies, both your own and those of your business. Businesses often get so buried in the day to day routines that they lose sight of what made them successful in the first place. They wander off into new ventures and ultimately fail.

4. Failing to create a TEAM environment. The leader can’t do it all by himself. Being the boss, the lead sales person, the finance securer and the technical expert can be a difficult juggling act. Get the right people with the right talents and delegate. Motivating, inspiring and rewarding your employees can be one of the toughest personal challenges. But with your commitment to your employees, productivity, efficiency and profits can shoot through the roof. TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More.

5. Having a "Just around the Corner" mentality. We wrote about “When things settle down” and the problems that it causes. Successful salespeople and business owners know that they must charge ahead, no matter how overwhelmed they seem now, or how good things appear to be "just as soon as…" They know that the time is now and the bounty that lies ahead could get up and walk away before you get there. Do it now is more than just a Nike slogan.

6. Not knowing your numbers. How much did you sell TODAY? What is your actual profit margin on each product? What is the profitability of each customer? How much cash should you have on hand in order to make it through a slow cycle or an emergency? What is your time to market from inception of an idea? You have to have metrics and the right metrics in order to run the business successfully.

6. Not keeping up with your customers. Your customers are changing whether they call to tell you or not. Customers will buy from whoever has what they want when they want it. It’s up to you to make sure you’re on top of what they’re buying now and what they’re likely to buy tomorrow.

8. Not keeping up with technology. The social media is here and is growing astronomically. The old ways of advertising are changing rapidly and if you aren’t using the new technology and venues, you are doomed to failure. Check out the successful companies, large and small. They are all into the new age.

9. Not having the proper advisors Every great sports personality, business person and superstar is surrounded by coaches and advisors. A coach can see the forest through the trees and help you focus on the game. A coach is committed to making you successful. Get the professional help. It has a significant ROI.

10. Quitting - THOU SHALT NOT QUIT!

Do you recognize any of these elements in your business? If you do, trouble is likely ahead and you will want to do something quickly to change the situation. Call us. We can help.


John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

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1 comment:

Lewis Green said...

Let me add number 11: Failing to ever take a calculated risk. No one wins without sometimes failing.