It’s on record that about two out of every three businesses fail. The big question now is where do the two-third who didn’t make it go wrong? What are the behaviors or actions that caused so many businesses (and entrepreneur wannabes) to fail?
In the world of business today, it is easy to lose sight of what you actually need to make your business a success.
There are deadly sins that I have identified that can be lethal to the success of your business, which you must address immediately if you’re leading an enterprise. These are sins that successful founders and business owners have avoided, and you should, too.
1. Basing everything on passion
Like someone said, ‘Passion. The P-word is a must for any motivator or entrepreneur, but the reality is far more tangible.’ Trends and business opportunities exist outside the realm of our passions. The question is this, ‘Is it really worth it following your passion when you could be creating a far more successful business where there are market needs?’
A good number of business men and women (and entrepreneurs) are still blinded by their passion. Passion alone can’t change the world. Men and women who have changed the world intentionally aligned their passion with the market needs.
The number one entrepreneurial sin is that people just don’t know how to create, produce or deliver anything the world needs or wants to buy. Yes, you must have passion for a product or service that you want to sell; it has to be something you can offer, and something that you would want yourself. However, it’s more important that it’s something the market desperately needs or wants.
When your actions move past the stage of seeing how your passion lines up with the market needs, you become obsessive and driven by impulsive decisions that could ultimately harm your business.
It is disturbing to watch people lose money because they can’t lose their egos and let go of their passion project once they’ve discovered there is no market for it.
You can’t sell to people what they don’t want or need, passion or no passion. That could be why Benjamin Franklin admonished, ‘If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.’ Don’t just have driven by passion, rather align your passion with the market’s pain points.
2. Being static in a dynamic world
No entrepreneur can afford to fold his hands at the wheel of his enterprise and expect to arrive at his promise land safely. We must be equipped to change fast enough, and to deal with trickling business changes that are happening every day.
A business that ignores change is a business that welcomes extermination. And our relevance in the business space will largely depend upon how we can take advantage of the corresponding opportunities that come with the changes. Change, after all, is a known catalyst for business growth!
For any change to happen in your life, you must be wrong about something that you may have done in the past in building or growing your business. Gary Hoover in the book, Hoover’s Vision wrote, ‘My study of business has led me to believe that one of the most common causes of failure is the inability of leaders to see the most important underlying trends – trends that emerge from the past to create the present and shape the future’.
One of the skills every true entrepreneur must possess is the ability to spot new trends, understand changing season and dispensations, the possibilities that come with it, and to better position for it. In business, trends happen in response to the insatiable customers’ needs.
Whenever we immerse ourselves with only what we have known or familiar with, we impose a limit on our potentials as individuals and as an enterprise, and we will fail to see sneaking trends.
Business trends are largely influenced by human taste – taste for an improved service, and taste for enhanced value. That is to say, taste influences trend, and vice versa. It’s imperative to note that changing customers’ needs and wants are driven by trends, taste, and technology!
Stories abound about promising enterprises that died not because they don’t have great solutions but mainly because they choose to remain static. To remain in business, your enterprise must continually recreate whatever you did yesterday, and intentionally so. If we look hard enough we would see things that need to change or improve on.
Tony Ajah is a Business Growth Strategist, and the author of BUSINESS SENSE, and ON BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR. He maintains a personal blog, www.tonyajah.com where he shares proven business ideas and principles for SMEs.