Why Entrepreneurs Fail
I've been at this for some time now and I've seen many businesses come and go well before they hit their full potential. And what I came to realise very quickly is the problem isn’t always about the product or service, actually, it's the entrepreneur. It's one of those topics we need to talk about more, so if I can't share with you who can I share with?
My original thought was always on the concept and the market, not the person/s running the business. After a very interesting year, with staff changes, being unwell, analysing our strategy etc. I started to feel a little worn down. It didn't take long for that feeling to turn into questions of whether it was time to park up this incredible venture I started two years ago.
Believe it or not - I contemplated applying for marketing roles all over again or financial roles to flex my accounting qualification. It was after all this painful internalised digging at 1 am one night, my mind requested a break. Shut your damn laptop and go to bed.
So, I did!
As I was falling asleep I began mapping out my strategy to really push my business and give even more value. I grabbed my phone and laid it out in Evernote. The next morning, I woke up and called a great friend of mine, discussed my fears, shared my solution, processed it all and got into action.
It was at this point it clicked. Entrepreneurs aren’t just failing because of terrible products, horrid services or failure to create a great website. It’s all down to a few things we tend to skip over, because it’s personal…because it’s about us. A few reasons started sticking out to me, so let me divulge:
Wow! When I realised this, I paused a little because it's something we don't really hear about in entrepreneurship as being a hindrance to success. It's usually associated with confidence and tons of this go-getting attitude. But, it's also the reason some entrepreneurs fail and fast too. Ego tells you not to ask because you don't want to look stupid or feel vulnerable.
It may stop you from forging friendships or opening conversations with other entrepreneurs because they have a small social media following, so you assume you can’t learn anything from someone who isn’t 'popular'. How terrible is it that social media is now a reflection of success? Ego also stops entrepreneurs from launching early, because they would prefer perfection. When the sooner the business starts building traction the better. Even a landing page would suffice. Don’t allow your own perception of perfect, to stop you from getting out there; and talk to people.
This is more common than you think. Even the most successful entrepreneurs still feel fear, they just handle it differently. You can't be afraid to make a cold call or pitch your business for the chance of securing investment. The way I see it, as someone who suffers from social anxiety, the sooner you start talking, the sooner the knots in your stomach will fade away. The same with putting your business out there, start having conversations early on with your target audience or an outlet you want to stock your products in.
The sooner you break the ice the better you'll feel. To overcome the feeling, you must actively do, do, do! Fear is sometimes why some people never start at all, they will never know if their concept could have solved a problem. Don’t think about all the things that could go wrong, that’s a recipe for disaster and in my opinion, those failures will be the reason you succeed. Granted this will only be the case if you learn from your mistakes and get out there again!
Who isn't a little impatient? I'm not just talking the odd annoyance when the browser loads too slow, but actually the long-term slug. Three years’ post-launch and no fancy car or 6 months’ holiday in the Caribbean every year can be a quite hard to accept. Look, I'm coming up to three years since launch, I've spent about two of those years solely working on it at night and on lunch breaks while working a 9-5. This is the first year I had the opportunity to give my full attention to my venture and it feels great, and I'm just getting started.
If you're not careful with this urge to get there fast, you'll give up just before the finish line.
Who am I kidding? There is no finish line...but there is growth, significant growth that could be lost due to lack of patience. It's such a massive taboo when people say the three-year mark is when you win. When to me it’s when you really START digging your heels in and leading your business. It will come, just stay persistent and patient.
Oh, my goodness - this is a sure-fire way to fail and fast. If you take nothing else from this article, please take this; please do not compare your business to someone else's. That's no way to go about navigating through this tricky journey of entrepreneurship. Some entrepreneurs fail because they're comparing their growth to another when their eyes and hands need to be steering their own boat.
You look at social media followers and posts, drool over the awesome events they attend, see their brand-new car, watch their business concept soar while you sit and moan about your progress. Don't Do It!
I’ve always believed that what is yours will always be yours, so the attention needs to stay with YOU so you can get yours, and in your own way! You're incredible and the world needs you to see your view of it in whatever context you feel. Having a peep into someone else's journey and wishing it was you; doesn’t do YOUR journey any favours, in fact, you'd be doing yourself a disservice. Be inspired instead, reach out and say well done or ask for a some advice, but please don't compare to the point where you end up disliking your own vision.
Everything is about how you process and respond to situations. This is the same with entrepreneurship, it’s just another element of your life experiences. Don’t give up on yourself, evaluate, strategise and get moving again. I don’t know any ‘successful’ (our view of success varies), who hasn’t hit rock bottom, but instead of staying there, got up, pivoted and kept going. Those crappy moments are waiting to be transformed and it’s up to you to do that.