6 Reasons Businesses Fail

Hindsight is 20/20!   

From the outside looking in, we can see many reasons why businesses fail.   

Forbes says 8 out of 10 businesses fail, yet everyday a 1000’s of new business are started.   

Here is a quick list of 6 reasons why so many businesses fail. Learning from these failures is step one to a successful long lasting, business

1.Leadership Failure

Lets be real… there are parts of life that are fun… and there are parts of life that we are less than excited about.  Being a business leader means more than being the buyer, and face of your business. A true leader is responsible for keeping everyone informed, safe, motivated, disciplined and more.  Poor leadership from the top will trickle down to the rest of your team and negatively affect every aspect of your business. Failure to properly lead will show up over time. The most successful businesses have very active leaders who set goals, communicate, train, test, and reward as well as continue to educate themselves and learning from their mistakes.   

2. Failure to be Unique

With so many boutiques popping up you have really got to set yourself apart!   What makes you unique? It is not enough to say you offer affordable, trendy clothing… so does everyone else!   What makes you different? Will customers VOTE for you? When a customer opens their wallet and buys something with you they are voting for you.   What sets you apart from the guy down the street?

It is important to see retail through the eyes of your customers and set yourself apart in this huge retail world!   Dare to be different… it is the only way to survive!

3. Making Assumptions About Your Customers Needs/Wants

Did you build a business on what you assumed your customers wanted or needed?   To survive in this crazy retail world you will need a business that solves a problem for your customer.  To assume that your customer needs a place to find affordable, trendy clothing is not accurate! Everyone has access to Amazon, or other online retailers.   Everyone has a problem that needs to be solved… you figure out a way to solve your customer’s retail problems (their true struggles) and you will survive!

Examples:   Be the go to retailer for: slimming pants, best selection of party dresses, personal shopping, delivery, closet organization, size 11 shoes. Truly solve a problem for your customers and they will support you!

4. Failure to Analyze Numbers

According to Small Business Trends, only 40% of small businesses are profitable, 30% break even and 30% are losing money!   Which type of business do you want to be?

In order to be profitable, you must diligently be analyzing your numbers. Profit doesn’t just happen!   You might make sales, and bring in revenue however, revenue is not the same thing as profit! You must have a plan! These plans must include (but not limited to) mark up, markdown, inventory management, overhead, etc.   

If you fail to analyze your numbers, soon there will be no numbers to analyze.

5. Getting Too Big For Your Britches

Expanding, overextending payroll, and exceeding a marketing budget are three quick ways to kill your business.  Everyone likes to grow, however you need to phase your business and do it over time. Too much too fast will deplete funds!  Imagine your own personal life… You only have 24 hours in a day and taking on more than you can manage will result in items left undone, or not done correctly.  This is the same with your business.

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Be patient!

6. Failure to Learn From Your Mistakes!

It is normal to fear failure, however, in business consider it your tuition – paid!    Everyone makes mistakes, however, the biggest take away is what you learn from these mistakes!  When someone fails, learn from it, do not repeat it, adjust your plan and try again!

Albert Einstein says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results!  As business owners it is mandatory to keep learning! Realizing there are mistakes in your business and going back to the drawing board to develop a new plan is the first step to success.


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Sara Burks
Sara Burks
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Sara Burks has been in the boutique industry for over 20 years and has a Master’s in Business Administration. As The Boutique Hub’s Director of Education & Partnerships she will share her practical knowledge of the boutique business with Hub members. On top of her boutique experience, Sara is a rodeo coach, started a jewelry brand, is wife, and a mom of two girls.