The Reason Why 90% Of Startup Businesses Fail

Gillian Sisley

If you want to be the 1 out of 10 to succeed, consider implementing these tools.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business as one with one to 500 employees. And in 2019, data shows that the failure rate for small businesses is 90%.

That is a massive number, and for any prospective entrepreneurs, a 9 in 10 chance in your startup business won't succeed is a pretty daunting statistic.

It's no wonder so many people are too intimidated to take the plunge and start a business for themselves.

In 2016, I started my first social media marketing agency, and my small businesses happened to be the 1 in 10. I was part of the 10% to succeed in business. And for that reason, people wonder what you need to be part of that 10%, and what it takes.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur at 22 years old, and still being one to this day, I've met plenty of entrepreneurs like me who are part of the 10%. There are some common traits you can find in entrepreneurs in the 10%.

Being open to a lot of slip-ups, but always getting up again.

Slip-ups are bound to happen — it’s just part of life.

Accept it and be gritty.

What will set successful people apart from others is that they’ve grown a thick skin and won’t stay down long. Every slip-up in life carries a lesson. To be successful in any business, you need to get used to this slip-up thing — it will happen a lot.

The SBA surveyed small businesses that failed, and found the following:

According to business owners, reasons for failure include money running out, being in the wrong market, a lack of research, bad partnerships, ineffective marketing, and not being an expert in the industry.

When you're facing all of these very real and precarious obstacles, it's no wonder the failure rate is so high.

Get used to falling your face. Take that as an indication that you need to change or tweak something, and move on to your next best idea. After enough failure and tweaking, you’ll find that thing that ends up being a success.

But you’ve got to stick around long enough to actually see that success come to fruition.

A willingness to put the work in, and work harder than other people expect you to.

Because this meant that the harder I worked, the faster I would find the opportunity that would help me achieve my goals.

I noticed, early on, that the prospect of starting my own business was very scary for other people, in particular. And those people would actively project their fear and anxiety on me, trying to convince me I was doomed to fail.

If I had actually listened to them, I wouldn’t have to where I am today.

The SBA also surveyed the 10% of business owners that succeeded, and this was the general advice for what helped them being part of the winning percentage:

Ways to avoid failing include setting goals, accurate research, loving the work, and not quitting.

A lot of the time, I had to listen to me and only me, because no one else was going to work as hard for my dream as I was.

Wanting what you’re striving towards hard enough.

If you only kind of want something, it will be easy to give up on it. Recall up above that one of the key ways to avoid business failure is to 'love the work you do'.

Not just like, love.

If you really, really want something, whether that’s being your own boss or writing a novel, or whatever, you show up every day, even on the bad days, and you show up and do the work.

Every little bit of forward motion counts in the journey to reaching your goals, no matter how small.

And finally, my most important tool:

Being gracious with yourself.

This has been, and will always be my golden rule.

That never means giving yourself permission to find an excuse (there will always be one to find!), but instead being kind to yourself when you are too quick to beat yourself up for not working hard enough or not getting somewhere fast enough.

As long as I am always doing something towards my bigger goal, I‘m’ proud of myself. And sometimes, that something I needed to do was rest because I was about to burn out.

I kept my weekends sacred while building my business and always made sure to get enough sleep to recharge my body.

Some would say that sleeping in until noon as an entrepreneur is irresponsible — but if I needed the rest, I let my body have it.

Final word.

Every person’s journey is unique — so my toolbox will certainly look different from another entrepreneur’s.

The key is figuring out what your best tools are to move hustle forward and make mountains move for yourself.

Be open to the obstacles, and the setbacks, because they’re all indications that you need to change something, or else you’re not going to get where you want to be.

But all in all, ensure you’re being kind to yourself. Nothing productive can ever get done when the head of the operation is burnt out and frustrated.

I hope this has been helpful — good luck on your business and solopreneur ventures!

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