Did you know that 97% of all businesses here in Australia are small businesses? And did you also know that over 67% of small business owners don’t make it through to survive their first 5 years?
Running a business is not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurship is undeniably risky. While there are a number of small businesses that perform well and are continuously profitable, a larger portion of businesses fail without the proper tools in place to achieve critical business objectives. So many small businesses are on an inevitable path to failure.
Here are four reasons why small businesses fail:
- Not making enough sales – A large number of businesses fail because they are over-reliant on a very small number of clients. It takes just one unexpected closure to result in a significant fall to rocky financial. Short-term future earnings can be massively reduced, and invoices for completed work can go unpaid. While maintaining caution about spreading yourself too thin, you should try not to rely on a very small client base. If you deal with a very few clients, or if a small number make up the bulk of your turnover, you should begin scouting for new prospects.
2. Expenses are too high – Just as good cash flow keeps a business afloat, poor cash flow can sink it. If your bills exceed cash on hand, you’ve got a cash flow problem. Cash flow can also shift dramatically depending on the time of year, or even by day of the week. What makes it even more challenging is that cash is most needed when your business is growing. A strict handle on cash flow helps insulate your business during struggles, downturns, or unpredictability, and also allows more flexibility during growth periods.
3. Record keeping – As a small business owner, you understand your business’ processes inside and out. You probably lose sleep at night worrying about your sales. You’re passionate about your business succeeding, and you’ve invested your life’s work into it. But, there are metrics that small business owners often overlook and fail to record and track effectively, which ultimately hinders them from making strategic plans thus preventing them to succeed in their businesses.
4. Strategic management – A 2011-12 report by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that 44 percent suffered poor strategic management. This is another common reason why small businesses fail. For a small business to grow and succeed, it needs a good strategy and a plan to support it. As an entrepreneur, don’t make the mistake of excessive idealism concerning your business, don’t be so focused on your vision for the business that you forget or neglect creating a strategic plan that factors in important components of your business and addresses them adequately.
Having a clear understanding of exactly what we are dealing with here in our small business journey is half the battle. It is vital that we keep the passion we have for our small business in check with the realities of our very survival. Developing a clear plan to address each of these four areas in our small business is the only way that we will earn our right to be on the positive side of the statistics, growing and expanding beyond our humble beginnings to the larger operation we always imagined.