5 Preventable Reasons Small Businesses Fail in their First Year

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Group of businessmen under umbrella. Business safety conceptStarting a small business always involves some element of risk, since it would be impossible to guarantee the success of any new venture. The success or failure of a business idea depends on many different factors, such as product demand, marketing strategy and pricing structure. However, there are several common factors that lead many businesses to fail within their first year of trading. Awareness of these common mistakes can help small businesses to make better decisions and reduce their risk of failure.

Unspecified Goals

Vague or unspecified goals often lead to failure, particularly in business. Setting clear goals enables you to plot a realistic path to achieving them and increases the likelihood of success. The key to setting clear goals is to make them specific, measurable and realistic. For example, if your goal is focused on turning a profit, you could set the aim of earning a specific amount of money within a given time frame.

Inadequate Planning

Planning is essential for all businesses, whether you’re starting a new venture or growing an existing company. Taking the time to assess your strengths and weaknesses is the starting point for creating an effective plan, as it will help you to take advantage of your strengths and make contingency plans to deal with your weak spots. Try to keep your goals in mind when creating your plan and focus on your intended outcome.

Poor Market Research

Many people overlook the importance of good market research before starting a business. Researching the marketplace, competition and target customers thoroughly enables you to create a tailored plan for achieving your goals. Look at the products, services, pricing structure and marketing tactics used by your competitors to see which strategies work best. In addition, it’s essential to research the needs of your intended customers and to determine the best way of reaching them.

Vague Branding

Branding is an important part of marketing and business development. However, branding is about far more than using recognizable logos and memorable slogans. Branding should incorporate the whole philosophy, values or underlying premise of your business. Customers want to know what your business stands for and why they should choose your products and services over those of your competitors. Think about the values that are important to your business operations and use them to create a strong brand.

Rigid Thinking

While it’s essential to have a clear plan for starting and growing your business, it’s also important to be flexible and open to new ways of achieving your goals. Rigid thinking and stubbornly sticking to the original plan, even when it’s no longer working, prevents you from seeking more effective paths to success. Always try to remain open to new possibilities and alternative strategies when creating and implementing your business plan.

Small businesses fail for many different reasons, but there are several things you can do to improve your chances of success. Setting clear goals and creating a detailed plan is the starting point for all small business owners.

About the Author

Bookkeeper Extraordinaire Number Crunchers® Financial Services Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.