How to Avoid Business Failure

Why do businesses fail? The Small Business Administration in 2004 (latest year for available date) identified the launch of 580,900 new employer businesses and the closing of 576,200. This report suggests that for every business failure another business opens.

Many business writers, business consultants and business coaches attribute business failure to a lack of strategic planning, a lack of leadership, a lack of vision, a lack of processes, the list is endless. Dan Kennedy, a renowned marketing and sales expert said that there is no business success or failure, but rather people success and people failure. However, the problem with identifying one reason for business failure is the problem.

Businesses are complex by their very nature. To believe that only one factor will either make or break a business is foolhardy and contributes to the silo solution mentality. This approach is simply stated like this: "If I fix this one problem, then everything else is OK."

Successful businesses harness what I call the dynamic forces of performance – strategic planning, execution and measurement. These forces, much like the forces in nature, act upon each performance change field such as profitability, customer service, growth and innovation to name a few. When all 3 forces are in alignment, the field experiences tremendous energy and improved performance happens.

Processes help to unite the forces and close any performance gaps between the forces. People development process links planning and execution. Many companies have great planning capacity, but fail to execute or implement the performance change.

Even if strategic planning and execution are OK, sometimes measurement of the desired results is still lacking. A goal achievement process helps to bridge this gap.

Between measurement and planning is the process of quality. Reviewing the quality of the performance field helps to not only improve measurement, but establishes a high performance culture of continuous improvement.

All of these forces and processes operate within the eye of leadership. Effective leadership is necessary to manage each of the forces as well as the processes. If leadership is not present, then the forces fail to maximize their impact upon the field.

Take the time to look at the forces within your business along with the processes. Implement action where necessary so that you will be one of those businesses that will not fail.


SMB coach, sales and organizational culture authority, Leanne Hoagland-Smith is the People and Process problem solver for forward thinking leadership who want to dramatically improve their business and sales results. What this looks like differs for each SMB and why a phone call to 219.759.5601

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