Most Common Reasons Startup Businesses Fail
How to ensure your business thrives
What a great business idea!
Starting a business is exciting, you’re ready to take the plunge with your big idea or great product. You know what you want things to look and feel like and your ideal customer has been mapped and targeted. But the level of excitement required to make sure your business thrives into the future requires a lot of consistent energy.
Passion and commitment are great drivers of energy, but there comes a time in just about every business where that well runs dry for a while. The sheer volume of tasks necessary to get a startup off the ground and functioning efficiently can be staggering. And as is often the case with small businesses or side-hustles, there’s usually not a lot of initial capital for you to pay experts to do the things that aren’t in your Zone of Genius.
Startup uncertainties – what makes new businesses fail.
It’s not just a lack of business acumen that limits success. The long hours necessary to get everything done can also lead to feelings of loneliness, doubt and helplessness. Stress builds up, overwhelm sneaks in, and your personal wellbeing can take a hit as the fear of failure and thoughts of not being good enough get louder. If you’re lucky enough to have a team, this can, unfortunately, create tension between members. If not, it’s often your loved ones who bear the brunt. Left too long, these situations can result in depression, trouble sleeping and getting rundown or sick. All of which has a big impact on the success of your business.
“Founder mental health is a massive issue, and we don’t talk about it enough,” said James Cameron, partner at AirTree VC, when interviewed by KPMG Australia in the 2018 Startup Founders Research Report: Fitness, fulfilment and foresight.
“This means we’re failing a lot of people who might be struggling,” James added, “Because of the cultural stigma that still gets attached, many founders feel that talking openly about their own struggles will somehow mean they’re seen as less competent.” Can you relate?
How to help your business thrive
If you’re struggling, the first step you need to take is to find a trusted support group. You need to be able to speak honestly about what you’re doing in your business; what actually gets done, what doesn’t, and how does it all make you feel. Expressing these things transparently, having a reliable sounding board and receiving non-judgemental advice will serve you so much better than continually feeling victim to your circumstance. And it will definitely increase the odds that your enterprise will succeed.
So, you’ve got a great support network around you, or you’re actively looking for one, but what about work-life balance? Before you roll your eyes, work-life balance is not some cheesy, new age philosophy that’s as out of reach as unicorn tears. You’ve simply heard the term bandied around so much because, so few people are taking it as seriously as our individual and collective mental health warrants.
Here’s how to approach it. Take a step back and evaluate your habits – in work, and in your personal life. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I spend enough downtime with loved ones or doing something I enjoy?
- Am I exercising or just moving my body daily?
- Do I constantly take work to bed?
- Is it hard for me to ‘switch off’?
Where are your priorities?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the first two questions above, and ‘no’ to the third and fourth, your work-life balance probably isn’t too bad. If your answers were reversed however, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.
According to the 2019 KPMG Australia report, start-up founders put in over 50 per cent more hours than the standard Australian 40 hour working week. That’s a lot of extra time to try and balance up!
What should you be doing to help your business thrive?
Exercising, spending time with loved ones and enjoying your hobbies results in the release of endorphins, which trigger positive feelings. This can really help to balance you out, allowing you to feel happier and less overwhelmed.
If you are having trouble getting motivated enough to fit movement into your day, perhaps this finding will help; the KPMG Australia report also showed a link between physical fitness and financial and business success, with exercise boosting mood, memory and cognition.
However, wouldn’t you know it… most founders are not doing as much physical activity as they would like. Perhaps those 80+ hours on the job have something to do with it?
Joel Connolly, Head of Community at Blackbird Ventures said, “Holistically founders will achieve more if they’re healthy and happy. We see a lot of founders who really value their wellbeing and practice mindfulness. Some of the most successful founders have an awareness of how stress impacts them and their team, and the importance of balancing the work-life balance.”
At the end of the day, if you can get clear on your priorities, engage with a supportive network, create realistic goals and make sure you take time for yourself, the work-life balance will align in a way that’s right for you.
Three pillars of business success
Assessing your priorities in light of the following three aspects – your mind, your body and your business – gives you a bird’s eye view of how likely your success will be at any point in time. It has the added benefit of clearly showing you where you need to invest. Regardless of which you choose to focus on first, success in one positively affects the other two. If you keep this in mind, you can always find something simple to focus on in one arena to help boost your ability to get through difficulties in the others.