Stop Your Business Failing BLOG POST Scaled

how to stop your small business from failing

When you start your business, the last thing you consider is failure. Your vision is world domination, of customers falling over themselves to buy your products or services and for you to smash your end of year goals. However, for the majority of new businesses, this isn’t the case – in fact 20% of new businesses fail in the first year and 60% fold within 3 years. There are ups and downs and challenges to overcome. So, how do you stop your business from failing, and make sure you make it?

As far as we’re concerned, a good foundation for a successful business has to include these 3 factors as an absolute minimum. Think you might need a refresh? Read on…

1. fail to plan, plan to fail

There’s a reason that the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail” exists. Because it’s absolutely true. If you don’t have a plan, you really don’t have a business.

However, it has to be a good plan. Starting with making sure you have a decent strategy in place. One that contains all the research, the vision for your future, and suitable goals to get you there. An A3 vision board is all well and good, but it’s not going to give you the direction that you need to achieve these things. And a goal without a plan is just a dream!

You’re going to base this strategy on facts as well as dreams. It’s about documenting where you are now and building educated projections about the future of your business, using hard data and looking at the wide world. It’s not a quick fix!

Even if you’re a one-person company or solopreneur, it’s important to have this business strategy in place to keep you on track. Without anyone else to hold you accountable, it’s easy to get distracted and run off in a different direction every week. With a strategy in place, you know exactly what you need to do.

However, your strategy is not a document that sits on a shelf and gathers dust. You need to create a practical plan, breaking your goals down into bitesize pieces and taking it one step at a time. For example, a communication plan for your ideal clients – will you be using social media, email marketing, events like networking on meeow, or advertising? It’s in the plan.

And anything that isn’t in the plan doesn’t get done.

2. know your market

It’s a core part of your planning process, but you need to know your market. How big is the market? Is there a market for your product or service at all? Who are your competitors? And, most crucially, who are your customers?

Ideal client avatars (ICA), ideal customer profiles (ICP), dream clients are all names for the same thing – that group of people for whom your business is designed to serve. You need to do more than just know who they are. You need to know everything about them.

Just understanding demographics isn’t enough. You might think your ideal client is a married woman, educated to degree level on a £30-45k salary, in her 40s based in Yorkshire. But how many variations on a theme are there? Just because our tax bracket is the same, doesn’t mean that our problems and issues are.

You need to get to know your customers on a different level – dig into their motivations, dreams and aspirations, not just what they take home after tax. It’s only once you understand the problems and pain points of your customers that you can really communicate with them on their level and make that connection.

There are loads of ideal client templates out there, but this Forbes article is a good place to start. It might feel like a lot of work when you “know” who you’re talking to, but getting it all down in your plan helps you find new angles and get your comms absolutely spot on.

On the other side of the market is the need to understand the competitor landscape. Who are the old guard and the new upstarts? What do you need to do to differentiate yourself from them and be the business of choice for your customers? Doing a thorough market analysis (and maybe a good old fashioned SWOT) will help you to understand what your strengths are and how you can play to them.

Importantly, keep this market analysis up-to-date. Keep tabs on the changes to the market so you know what the industry looks like and make sure you have plans to adapt and change if need be.

3. passion for your vision

The saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life”… is absolute rubbish. Running a business is about working hard and probably a lot. It won’t always be easy or fun, but if you love your business and what you want to achieve, your vision, it makes that hard work a hell of a lot easier.

Some people start a business because they want to make money fast or just want to be their own boss – both perfectly valid. The problem arises when the business is built on what they think they ought to do and isn’t aligned with their values or passions. Running a business takes up all your time and brain space, so if you don’t love what you do it’s not going to be a fun way to spend your time.

Having a passion for your business and what you want to achieve in the long-term is so important. You need to believe in your purpose and have the absolute belief that the world needs what you can provide. There will be a lot of trials and tribulations along the way, so that drive and determination is the only way your are going to be able to see the problems and challenges as lessons and not punishments.

It’s this passion that is going to help you to sell yourself to the world. Everything from your social media posts to your networking pitch will come so much easier if you have that love and belief in yourself and your business. Your ideal clients will know how committed your are to this business from your social media, your email marketing, from the first conversation in a networking meeting. It’s not something that you can fake.

can you stop your business from failing?

Ultimately, the fate of your business is not 100% in your hands – as shown by the rollercoaster of 2020/2021. But a solid strategy, a usable plan, and a good dose of passion will put you on the right path for success.

Why not come and road test that passion in a community of small business owners in the same boat as you? Just book your next meeow, and try out that pitch today!

You can also share your stories with us over on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.

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